Yansane - IR632 Regional Economic Communities


INSTRUCTOR: Aguibou Y. Yansané



The course is four (4) unit-upper undergraduate course which examines the political economy of economic integration, in the South (Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean), which is one of the most powerful dynamics of this era in world history. Increasingly, nations are driven to unite their economies for greater efficiency and growth. Integrated markets do not necessarily mean integrated states, however. The fundamental tension between economics and politics is revealed in heightened relief in the process of integration. The course examines the IPE of economic integration in the South, the African Economic Community (AEC), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR), etc., by looking at its most important examples, the integration of Western Europe, and the USA. The fundamental question that the AEC, the ASEAN, the MERCOSUR that these regional economic communities (RECs) seek to answer in our days is whether economics is more important than politics. That is whether the dynamic individualistic motives of the market matter more than the unifying social values of the nation-state. Significantly, this is still an unanswered question at the start of the twenty-first century.

The course is multidisciplinary and draws upon economic, political, historical, cultural, and policy oriented materials The course will review the theory of economic integration, its effects on efficiency and trade, and political regionalism, all in light of the theoretical and practical aspects of development. The course provides specific information on the existing regional economic communities, and also relating to the much broader theme of development. It also provides a good deal of history and political economy analysis of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, their developmental problems and opportunities. This is important for today’s students, and the larger theme of development is perhaps more important in the long run.

The central theme of the course is the tension between the tendency of economics to unite people and the opposing force of politics (and history and culture) to divide them. This is a critical theme today because globalized markets are making national borders less relevant, yet the nation-state is still a powerful influence. The course will ask the students which force will be stronger, for the South and North.

The course will try to walk a fine line between technical economics and institutional politics. Students will supplement and expand their knowledge based on their own strengths and interests.

In sum the learning outcomes or objectives of the course are the following:

1) it poses a particular question that applies around the globe, and students are challenged to master the specific applications and at the same time appreciate the more general themes that derive from them;\

2) it examines the specific case of economic and political integration in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast with economic and political integration in Europe, which has been one of the most important IPE events of the twentieth century;

3) it raises a larger question, which force is stronger—the political forces that divide nations or the global market forces that unite them? The tension between economics and politics is critical to Europe’s development, and students will realize the extent to which it conditions international behavior in all parts of the world;

4) it familiarizes students with the most important IPE event, regional integration in the South, along with the economic, political, social, cultural, and physical environment of regional economic communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean;

5) it enables students to be aware and integrate knowledge and skills around the big issues of economic and political integration and development in the South;

6) it applies knowledge and skills to solve problems of development, poverty and inequality;

7) it enables students to be aware of how the approach of economics contributes to achieving unity in cultural, ethnic and social diversity, by building a regional economic community in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean;

8) it helps to develop students’ capacity for critical analysis and synthesis;

9) it enables students to explore problems and issues from different disciplinary approaches;

10) it enables students to understand and appreciate the complexities presented by the problem of regional economic and political development and be aware of the impact that solutions can have on people, their communities, societies and nation-states.


There will be two (2) periods of lectures and two (2) periods of discussions or audio visuals per week. Discussions and audio visuals are an integral part of the course. The lectures will emphasize important and difficult materials in the reading. But the objectives of the course are to be reached in large measure by extensive readings and by class discussions. Active and meaningful participation, with contributions drawn from current readings and experiences is strongly encouraged.


First, two brief exams will be given on the required readings and lecture materials. Students are encouraged to write three book reviews to be devoted to a topic linked to one of the themes of the course. The three books, selected from books to be reviewed on the syllabus, must be cleared with the instructor before the beginning of the second week of the semester. The first review is due on February 24, 2011; the second review on March 24, 2011; and the third review on April 21st, 2011. Students can also write a group research paper (approximately 15-20 pages) on a topic of their choice, the synopsis of which is to be cleared by the instructor before the beginning of the third week of the semester.

The two brief exams will constitute 40 percent of the course grade. They will be in the 7th and 15th/16th weeks of class. The three book reviews will constitute 50 percent of the grade. Class participation will make the remaining 10 percent.


1) a) Bob Deacon et al. World-regional and Social Policy and Global Governance: New Research and Policy Agendas in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, London & New York: Routledge, 2010. Or

b) Phillip Oxhorn, Joseph S. Tulchin and Andrew D. Selee, Decentralization, Democratic Governance, and Civil Society in Comparative Perspective: Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. or

c) Richard Newfarmer, Trade, Doha, and Development: A Window into the Issues, Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2006.

2) a) Martin Dedman, The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-2008: A History of European Integration, 2nd edition, London & New York: Routledge, 2010. Or

b)Richard M. A. McAllister, European Union: An Historical and Political Survey, 2nd edition, London & New York: Routledge, 2010. Or

c) Miroslave N. Jovanovic, The Economics of European Integration: Limits and Prospects, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005. Or d) Robert A. Jones, The Politics and Economics of the European Union, Second Edition, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001.

3a) Organisation of African Unity (OAU), The Treaty of Abuja, Addis Ababa: OAU, 1991. Or

3b) OAU, NEPAD, to be found on Instructor’s website. or

3c) Africa Capacity Building Fund (ACBF), A Survey of the Capacity Need of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities, Harare, Zimbabwe: 2008. or

3d) Eric M. Edi, Globalization and Politics in the Economic Community of West African States, Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2007.

3e) Gabriel H. Oosthuizen, The Southern African Development Community: the Organization, its Policies and Prospects, Midrand: Institute of Global Dialogue, 2006.

3f) COMESA, The Treaty Establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Lusaka: COMESA, 2004.

3g) Gian Luca Gardini, The Origins of MERCOSUR: Democracy and Regionalization in South America, 1st edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Or

3h) Fernando Lorenzo, Marcel Vaillant, (Eds.), MERCOSUR and the Creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2005, Wilson Center or

3i) Helen Sharmini Nesadurai, Globalisation, Domestic Politics, and Regionalism : the ASEAN Free Trade Area, London & New York: Routledge/ Warwick Studies, 2003.

3j) Martin Jones and M.L. R. Smith, ASEAN and East Asian International Relations: Regional Delusion, Chettenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishers Limited, 2006.

4) a) David Haugen and Rachael Mach, (Eds.), Globalization, Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Or

b) Paul J. J. Welfens et al., EU-ASEAN : Facing Economic Globalization,/p>

c) Rafael Porrata-Doria, MERCOSUR (The Common Market of the Southern Cone) (Globalization and Society Series), Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2005.


Selection of a hypothesis in the field of economic, political, and business development (for graduate students). Formulate it in an operational way and state the alternative hypotheses that purport to explain the phenomena. State the implications of the hypotheses. Design and present data whereby the hypothesis could be tested. (You do not have to do the calculations or conduct significance tests; only describe the method you would follow, present your data and state your reasons for expecting that the test would be a good one). Please discuss with the instructor the paper that you propose to write no later than the end of the third week of class. The paper will account for 50% of the final grade, with the two brief exams and class participation making the balance.

Possible Movies to Be Seen By Students

Students will be required to see and report on the following movies:

1.Documentary on SADC – Date to be determined.

2.Documentary on ECOWAS– Date to be determined.

3.Documentary on MERCOSUR – Date to be determined.

4.Documentary on ASEAN – Date to be determined.

5.Documentary on “Global Africa” – Date to be determined.

6.Documentary on the EU – Date to be determined.