Aligning Regional Integration Efforts in the SADC-EU Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the African Economic Community
Authors Mbakiso Magwape
Source: SADC Law Journal, The, 2013, p. 104 – 116
The contracting States in the SADC-EU Interim Partnership Agreement (IEPA) confirmed their ‘commitment to promote regional cooperation and economic integration in the SADC EPA States’, and further committed to ensuring that ‘mutual arrangements support the process of regional integration under the SADC Treaty’. There have been, however, inconsistencies and dis-harmonisation caused by the IEPA, with regards to prior existing regional integration attempts the SADC has undertaken and committed to. One such regional integration commitment SADC has undertaken can be found in the African Economic Community Treaty (AEC), which requires six stages to be implemented (by Regional Economic Communities which includes the SADC) in order for the AEC to take form. The AEC aims to increase economic reliance and promote self-sustained development through integrating African economies and harmonising policies within those communities as defined in the African Economic Community Treaty (1991) Article 4:1(a) and (d). The SADC is a vital part of the AEC’s plans. The paper shall draw parallels to the regional integration commitments under the SADC-EU IEPA and the AEC treaty, and identifies dis-harmonisation and challenges between the two instruments. This paper shall also identify the stage that the AEC is in, and the SADC’s requirements and performance in complying to such stages, and ask the question whether the SADC-EU IEPA ‘supports’ such an integration process which is key to the SADC and Africa’s Economic aspirations.