China’s economic policy and its influence on Southern African development community integration (1992–2013)
The end of the World War II was very significant in the study of International Relations. The multilateralism that was initiated in 1919, culminating in the formation of the League of Nations was re-launched with the formation of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) in 1945. Article 52, Chapter Viii of the UNO Charter provides support for the establishment and involvement of regional organisations in the maintenance of global peace and security. Europe was the first region to take the full advantage of this provision to organise itself in a developmental driven regional initiative in the post World War II era. The European Union (EU) that is currently a model of functional regional integration metamorphosed from the European Steel and Iron Commission founded in 1951. The successes of the EU did not go unnoticed to other regions, and have influenced the policy frameworks of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Faced with the devastating effects of colonialism and other forms of minority rule in the region, Frontline States was formed in 1975 to champion the liberation efforts of the Southern African region. While the apartheid regime of South Africa continued to pose threats to the region’s dream of total independence and economic emancipation, Frontline States was transformed into Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) in 1980, and then to SADC in 1992. With the end of colonialism in the region, the focus of the regional institution shifted from political liberation to economic development through regional cooperation and integration. To actualise this objective, SADC member states have adopted and implemented various policies and entered into bilateral relations with various states. One of such engagements is the growing tie existing between China and the region. The quest to ascertain the real impacts of the Sino-SADC economic relations on the region’s integration agenda is the focal point of this study. With the application of a multi-pronged qualitative approach with flexibility that accommodated quantitative statistical data arising from both primary and secondary source materials, the study was conducted and a grounded theory of External influence on integration was developed. The study revealed that Sino-SADC states relations generally yielded both positive and negative outcomes. While it has increased the region’s access to affordable goods and infrastructures, the trade pattern has contributed to SADC’s over-reliance on primary products for export earning, and thus has encouraged the influx of the Chinese products into the region, undermining its intra-regional trade and integration. To make the bilateral ties more mutually beneficial, efforts should be made to improve on SADC industrial manufacturing base. There is need for the region to engage China in a collective negotiation in order to boost its bargaining powers and to avoid a divide and rule outcome in the bilateral engagements.
- Humanities