Rationale for regional economic organizations in Africa: A case study of the East African Community

Ssebunya Edward Kasule, Purdue University


Regional economic organizations (REOs) in Africa have performed poorly in the past, and few changes have been made to suggest improvement in the future. However, over the past two decades there has been a renewed interest in REOs on the continent. Therefore, it is curious to see that despite the unsatisfactory performance of REOs African leaders have maintained existing organizations and even created new ones. The dissertation argues that African leaders have re-energized existing regional organizations, and created new ones to deal with the rapidly increasing conflicts on the continent. I conduct a detailed study of the East African Community to analyze the relationship between REOs and political insecurity, or conflicts, in Africa. Specifically, I examine the impact of conflicts started by ethnic politics, within countries in east and central Africa, on regional security. When examining the impact of ethnic politics on the EAC, I explore the issues of cattle rustling and political refugees extensively. This research shows that collective action through REOs has potential to reduce insecurity in Africa. Because African states do not have sufficient resources to broadcast power over their entire territory, weak states, like those of East Africa, can increase their abilities to resolve national and regional conflicts by pooling their resources. However, the potential for cooperation on matters of regional security has not been fully attained because African leaders are more concerned about advancing individual political goals than addressing the goals of the region as a whole.




Woods, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Political science

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server