Gnaka Lagoke

Dissertation:  “Discourse on Regional Economic Integration:  Towards a Theory of Panafrican Authentic Development.


This dissertation deals with the question of regional integration in relation to African economic development.  Regional Integration is a world phenomenon, which has gained a renewed interest in the twentieth century.  It is based on the assumption that large scale economies and wider markets can promote growth and development.  Africa has experienced various forms of regional integration: From the colonial regional constructs to the regional schemes after independence.  As major policies suggested to Africa, the phenomenon of regional integration is deeply rooted in the neoclassical economics.  After half a century of independence, the continent of Africa represents less than 2% of world economy, with 200 million people chronically hungry, in spite of its abundant natural resources.  This study critically examines major regional arrangements in Africa which produced meager results, does an evaluation of the level of trade between African countries [which is low], as they trade more with their former colonial masters than with themselves. 

This research is an attempt to deconstruct the theory of regional integration in Africa and is a simultaneous strategic sectoral integration built upon productive sectors such as energy and agriculture.  It resuscitates the works of Cheikh Anta Diop and Kwame Nkrumah.  It outlines an amended version of the law of comparative advantage, the principle of rational action, and the cost-benefit analysis, which are the three economic principles through which this study is conducted.  The model proposed in this study recommends Africa look inward instead of outward.  It is embedded in the humanitarian paradigm which suggests that policies designed for people take into account their values system.  This research builds upon a unifying vision of Africa, the Ubuntu philosophy, uses its key concepts, sharing, complementarity, and interconnectedness to elaborate how Africans can build new structures of political and economic liberation.  This research aims at building an African collective consciousness upon which poverty, underdevelopment, technological backwardness, ethnic and civil conflicts can be addressed efficiently.  The principle of rational action also serves as the cornerstone in the discussion about the creation of an African social capital and a new dimension of African citizenship.  Rational action principle assumes that the pursuit of selfish interests, in a society, by individuals ultimately leads to the achievement of common goals.  In the Pan African Authentic Development Theory, Africans are urged to organize in order to own the model and implement it regardless of the involvement of the leadership.  The study is a paradigm shift which focuses on untapped and unexploited resources such as the sun and water [salient features of African geography], wind and wave.  The transformation of these resources can contribute to the industrialization of Africa.  A continental planning proposed rests upon the creation of new industrial centers which are constructed around some of the Transboundary Rivers.  Within these new centers, a simultaneous development can easily be implemented which encompasses navigation, irrigation, fishing, agricultural production, and development of energy.