Since its re-establishment in 2000, the East African Community’s (EAC) integration and cooperation agenda has made significant strides over the previous two decades. However, in recent years, this progress has come up against a series of political challenges including a fragmented response to the Covid-19 pandemic, tensions between national governments, border closures, the endurance of non-tariff barriers and rising economic protectionism. Although some have drawn parallels between these trends and those that led to the collapse of the first EAC in 1977, there are reasons to not be overly fatalistic about the future prospects of regional integration East Africa. For one thing, intra-EAC trade has grown significantly over the last twenty years, creating economic linkages across the region and an imperative to retain (if not strengthen) the regional integration process. Moreover, while the ‘high-politics’ of the EAC has recently been defined by division, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the ideals of regional cooperation continue to endure outside of official summits and directives.
This conference aims to bring together academics, policymakers and stakeholders to take stock of the opportunities and enduring challenges facing the contemporary EAC integration agenda. In doing so, the conference will aim to take stock of the historical legacies of regional integration in East Africa, examining how the idea and practice of regionalism has evolved over time. It will also bring together experts and practitioners to offer insights into the future prospects and trajectory of the EAC.
We are inviting paper abstracts for this conference in themes such as:
- The history of regionalism in East Africa – what are the continuities and changes between different periods of regional integration?
- The ideologies and ideas that sustain the East African regional integration project
- Cultural expressions of East African identity
- Regionalism and development in East Africa
- Participatory regionalism in East Africa – to what extent is the EAC’s regional integration agenda ‘people-centred’ and ‘private-sector’ driven?
- The EAC and continental integration initiatives (i.e. AfCFTA)
- Comparative regionalism – how does East African integration compare to other integration projects in Africa and across the world?
The deadline to submit abstracts of up to 250 words is the 1st April 2022. The conference will be hosted by the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in Nairobi, Kenya. It is hoped that the event will run in a hybrid format that will allow participants to attend either in person, at the BIEA, or online. Please note, however, due to potential disruption from Covid-19, the event may have to be moved to an online only format.
Abstracts and general queries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Chris Vaughan and Dr. Peter O'Reilly
School of Humanites and Social Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University