Cover Image
close this bookMaldevelopment - Anatomy of a Global Failure (United Nations University)
close this folder7. Inter-African and south-south co-operation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPan-Africanism in the light of the colonial inheritance1
View the documentThe problematic of the Arab nation2
View the documentAfro-arab co-operation3
View the documentProspects for south-south co-operation4
View the documentNotes


There is a fair amount of truth in the argument that the Balkanization of Africa and the Arab region is an additional obstacle to any form of development, a fortiori development to match the challenges of our time, and leaving integration in worldwide development without any alternative and hence making de-linking impossible. Although such an argument is often put forward as an excuse, co-operation - or integration with the outlook of constructing vast autonomous areas, if not great unitary states - is no substitute for the preliminary internal changes required, even of small and medium size countries, to begin autocentric national and popular development.

Africa - even in its existing states - is not unaware of the fact that for small states the impasse is real. In the continent as a whole there is no shortage of institutions, attempts and plans for co-operation. Alongside the national efforts to escape from the rut, shown earlier, efforts at mutual support and co-operation have been undertaken even before the 'South-South' theme took over from the failure of the NIEO. Moreover, these attempts at co-operation are based on solid historical and ideological foundations: pan-Africanism and pan-Arabism. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Arab League have taken the initiative in creating numerous institutions, established subregional confederation schemes (based, it is true, on 'common market' principles, such as ECOWAS in West Africa), organized common fronts for the struggle against their adversaries (such as the SADCC in the face of South Africa), systematized Afro-Arab co-operation (which by volume is the largest South-South co-operation plan).

The results, so far, have been meagre and below the minimum required to launch en 'alternative development'. The reasons must be analised: micro-nationalisms and an inappropriate ideology of nation? Colonial inheritance? Drift in the system of international relations?