Latest Monitoring Regional Integration book launched
WINDHOEK – The ninth annual volume of ‘Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa’ book published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and South Africa’s Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa, was launched last week at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. The book, published annually, was launched by Dr Esau Chiviya, the Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which is based in Windhoek. The launch was mainly attended by academics, some of them from outside Namibia. Chiviya said the launch of this year’s book is unique and special as it coincided with the SADC Summit which was being held in the Namibian capital. After 30 years of promoting SADC integration in order for the SADC citizenry to benefit from economies of scale, amidst a host of challenges, SADC as a community was assembled in Windhoek to do introspection into its work and chart a way forward, Dr Chiviya said. “The book we are launching today should therefore be viewed as an independent review of the development and integration of SADC and Southern Africa at large,” he said. “There are formidable challenges ahead including our region’s position on the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiated with the European Union. They could have the net result of dividing the southern African region and reversing development gains if the EPAs are implemented as currently designed.” Some member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have signed an interim EPA, while others like Angola, Namibia and South Africa are negotiating for an improved text. The book is important in adding to the body of knowledge on regional integration in SADC and the entire Southern African Region as has been the case with the predecessor volumes. Amongst others, the book reflects on important subjects such as the relationship between the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the ongoing EPA negotiations, the debate on aid and trade, SACU and Mercosur, the role and place of tourism and agricultural sectors in the integration process, and Sugar industry in South Africa and Swaziland. The authors come from diverse backgrounds thus enriching the contribution of the book to the broader discourse of regional development and integration. Chiviya recommended the book to academics, practitioners and students of regional integration, economics and politics and the broader SADC and Southern African citizenry to tread the book as their second Koran or Bible, but of course with the right to interrogate the articles. The book is available free of charge at the Windhoek offices of the KAS.