Cross-border transport corridors and developmental regionalism in Africa: experiences from West Africa and the Horn
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date13/12/2023
Ndoye, Sokhna Oumou Khairy
This thesis aims to improve our understanding of the factors that have shaped the outcomes of regional integration initiatives in Africa. The earlier theories of regional integration have often been criticized for their Eurocentrism as they heavily drew on the European integration experience to explain the dynamics of regional integration in various regions of the world. In this regard, several scholars argued that the objectives of regional integration in Europe and developing regions were different and that regional integration initiatives in developing regions were mainly aimed at creating the conditions for the development of productive capacities and the expansion of intra-regional trade. While acknowledging that the orientations and objectives of regional integration initiatives differ depending on the socio-economic context, I argue in this thesis that some of the arguments stipulated by the earlier theories of regional integration are valid in developing regions. In particular, those theories have identified the central role played by domestic pressure groups in advancing or hindering regional integration dynamics. However, I argue that there is a need to adopt analytical tools that can take into account the specificities of the African context when analysing the dynamics of regional integration in Africa. As a result, the thesis combines theories of regional integration with a political settlements framework in order to understand how the distribution of organizational power at the sectoral, national and international levels affect the achievement of two goals of the developmental regionalism agenda implicitly pursued by the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Those two goals are: (i) the reduction of trade costs through the construction or rehabilitation of cross-border transport corridors and the implementation of policy reforms aimed at reducing logistics costs and (ii) the creation of regional value chains (RVCs) in order to boost intra-African trade. The thesis uses cross-border transport corridors as entry points to answer the research questions and deploys two case studies on the Dakar-Bamako transport corridor (linking the port of Dakar in Senegal to landlocked Mali) and the Ethiopia-Djibouti transport corridor (linking the port of Djibouti to landlocked Ethiopia). Given that policy reforms associated with the regional integration agenda entail a change in the distribution of rents at the national and international levels, the thesis will show that their feasibility greatly depends on the balance of power between three aggregated categories of actors whose interests are often divergent. Those three aggregated categories of actors are: (i) national state and non-state actors who are either affected or are in charge of the implementation of the reform agenda; (ii) regional and international organizations in charge of setting the agenda at the regional level; and (iii) multinationals whose own agendas may or may not support the objectives of regional integration initiatives.