CEMAC (the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) was a bid to promote trade and economic integration as well as create a greater degree of solidarity within the region of Central Africa. Established by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, CEMAC was intended to usher in regional economic reforms related to the reduction of quota restrictions, the removal of tariffs and the establishment of a greater degree of trade through the easing of border restrictions for citizens of CEMAC member states. In theory, this method of regional integration should create a positive impact on trade and human migration within the region, however, few studies have actually delved into an examination on how regional integration within the Central African states has actually impacted people on a local level (micro scale) and how it affects the economies of the countries involved (macro scale). It is thus the intent of this study to examine econometric data related to the economic performance and the rate of human migration of the members of CEMAC and investigate on a local level how regional integration has affected individual citizens within the region. The researcher expects that by the end of this study the effects of regional integration will become clear and with the results becoming the basis for possible policy recommendations.
With the emergence of regional blocks such as the European Union (E.U.), the Arab League and the Association of South East Asian Nations (A.S.E.A.N) whose express purpose is to promote trade, peaceful relations and economic cooperation comes the question of whether or not the current international climate is predisposed towards a trend in regional integration due to the apparent benefits this entails for member states. Oh & Rugman (2012) explains that the concept of regional integration is nothing new with history showing numerous instances where countries within the same region tended to promote trade and peaceful relations due to their inherent proximity (Oh & Rugman, 2012). It must be noted though that the modern day version of regional integrations entails far more “commitment” towards specific regional agendas than what was seen in the past (Iheduru, 2012). Regional integration as of late has been oriented towards specific trade related aspects involving the opening of markets, the easing of tariffs, the removal of trade restrictions etc. All of which are done in order to create a regional environment that is supposedly more beneficial for all the states who are part of the regional block (Iheduru, 2012). It must be noted though that studies such as those by Simon (2010) have indicated that not all instances of regional integration actually results in positive effects for the member states involved (Simon, 2010). Simon (2010) points out that not all cases of regional integration are made by states with comparative levels of economic competitiveness. There will always be cases where one state is more economically powerful than the other in terms of industrialization, access to resources, technological advancement etc. This would of course create a distinct disparity in the trade relations between one or multiple states due to the potential for local businesses to be in effect overrun by cheaper foreign imports. Pogoretskyy & Beketov (2012) also explains that in some multilateral agreements involving regional integration there are cases where the more powerful state gains the most out of the agreement leading to distinct trade imbalances (Pogoretskyy & Beketov, 2012). Another factor that should be taken into consideration are increased rates of human migration between states that are part of a regional integration agreement. As seen in the work of Pijpers (2008) which examined the impact of regional integration in the case of the E.U., human migration in between the member states increased considerably as travel restrictions in the form of border controls, visas and other such inconveniences were removed which encouraged tourism, regional workers (i.e. workers coming from one country and working in another) and inter-regional business trade (Pijpers, 2008). This is not to say that all cases of regional integration would lead to increased instances of human migration. As seen in the case of the A.S.E.A.N, the lowering of travel restrictions did not result in any considerable changes in human migration in between the member states. On the other hand, considering the fact that the countries that are part of the E.U. share borders as compared to the members of the A.S.E.A.N who are separeted by the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea it thus becomes more understandable as to why human migration in this particular instance is constrained. When examining the case of the Central African states, it thus becomes more reasonable to assume that since the countries who are a part of CEMAC share the same borders it is likely that there would be an increased rate of migration between them as compared to the case of the E.U. Not only that, based on the previous data involving the economic effects of regional agreement on states it is also likely that there should be an increased amount of trade and business relations in between the member states. On the other hand, studies such as those by Vancauteren & Henry de Frahan, (2011) have indicated that states often display a certain degree of hesitance when it comes the lowering of trade barriers due to differences in levels of competitive advantage (Vancauteren & Henry de Frahan, 2011). Such an attitude may also be present among the members of CEMAC resulting in the possibility that despite attempts at regional integration in order to develop economically as a whole, upon investigation it might actually be seen that there have been little improvements in trade between the parties involved since the states within CEMAC may be erecting trade restrictions in order to protect their local markets due to fears of them being overwhelmed by cheaper foreign imports. It is based on this that this study will attempt to examine whether regional integration in the case of the CEMAC member states has resulted in increased migration between parties to the agreement as well as whether there have been positive economic developments in the form of increased trade.
Background of the Study
What is regional integration?
Regional integration can be considered a method by which states enter into a bilateral/multilateral agreement so as to fulfill a specific purpose which can be economic, social or political in nature. From the perspective of Simon (2010), regional integration can be considered a way in which states position themselves so as to minimize conflict and maximize the benefits attained from cooperation with another state/s within the same region (Simon, 2010). This usually takes the form of removing specific barriers related to free trade, transportation of goods, labor, interregional migration and an assortment of other beneficial aspects related to regional integration (Cattaneo, 2009) (Lin & Liu, 2012). Two of the most prominent examples in this regard are the E.U. (European Union) and A.S.E.A.N (Association of South East Asian Nations), both of whom have enabled their citizens to enjoy unrestricted travel in between the members of the respective organizations as well as fewer barriers to trade and commerce (Aggarwal, 2010). Both the E.U. and A.S.E.A.N show the positive effects of regional integration and how it can be utilized to great effect in order to create better economic and political conditions for the countries involved in it (Kernic & Karlborg, 2010).
What must be understood is that one of the primary reasons behind regional integration is the creation of a common infrastructure that would in effect transcend national interests resulting in a greater harmonization of states within a particular region (Dawid, Gemkow, Harting & Neugart, 2012). This means that when a state becomes part of a process of regional integration resulting in the creation of an institution such as the E.U. it becomes more inclined towards fostering deeper ties of integration with other members resulting in a greater predilection towards the preservation of the organization (Capannelli, Lee, & Petri, 2010) (Desai & Vreeland, 2011). This was seen in the case of Germany and various other member states that are part of the E.U. who sought to preserve the entity at all costs during the onset of the European debt crisis. Studies such as those by Fujita (2007) point out that the development of such a predilection towards the preservation of institutions created as a direct result of regional integration is due to the following factors:
- Perceived benefits derived from integration (economic or otherwise)
- Being able to negotiate as a block
- Sense of community
- Perceived survival both regionally and internationally
It must also be noted that through the establishment of institutions which act as facilitators of inter-state policies and trade this in effect lessens the amount of conflict in between states (Vieira & Alden, 2011). The more perceived benefits that states derive from regional integration the more likely they are to support initiatives which would result in a certain loss of sovereignty but grant greater overall benefit for all those involved in the organization (Fujita, 2007). This particular factor is especially true in cases involving regions with high levels of historical conflict or scarce resources (German, 2012).
Case of Greece
Before proceeding any further, it must be noted that regional integration should not be considered as generally creating entirely positive results for all the states involved. As Stack & Pentecost (2011) explains, while the initial goal of any multilateral agreement is for the benefit of all those concerned, there will be of course those who will benefit more, those who benefit less and even those who apparently do not have any perceived benefits from entering into such an agreement and may even find that being a part of it is detrimental towards their success as a state (Stack & Pentecost, 2011). With the European debt crisis in full swing, many within the fields of economics and international studies have come to question regional integration due to the potential “spillovers” that come about as a direct result of having interlinked economic systems. A spillover effect can be described as instances that occur in one state that “spill over” into another state that as a result have negative ramifications due to inter-linkages involving regional policies and state economies. This was seen when states within the European union that were affected by toxic subprime debt from the U.S. housing crises created a detrimental domino effect on the economies of other states within the E.U. despite the fact that they had not been similarly affected by investing into the U.S. housing market (Weber, 2012). Studies such as those by Weber (2012) have shown that in terms of creating economic competitiveness, regional integration through the interlocking of economic systems and even the establishment of a common currency can actually cause a country to be less competitive. Weber (2012) refers to Greece and its acceptance into the E.U. as one of the best examples on how regional integration can go wrong for a particular state. First and foremost, what you have to understand is that while the promotion of intra-regional trade through the lowering of barriers to entry helps to facilitate the movement of people, products and monetary assets from one state to another, this also creates distinct vulnerabilities which the barriers were meant to prevent. For example, when Greece entered into common currency union this actually made the products and services by its local firms less competitive as compared to when it primarily utilized the Drachma. The value of the Euro in effect made the products of Greece far more expensive to import which resulted in a slow but sure deterioration of the local economy of Greece. What you have to understand is that unlike other members of the E.U. which have a well established technological and manufacturing infrastructure which makes them globally competitive, Greece was primarily an agricultural and shipping based economy (Maitland & van Gorp, 2009). Thus, from the point of view of Thonke & Spliid (2012) the only states that actually benefited from the implementation of a common currency were those with already globally competitive economies (Thonke & Spliid, 2012). Not only that, the economies of Germany, France and Spain actually benefited more from intra-regional trade with Greece as compared to the benefits Greece derived from such an agreement (Piesse & Hearn, 2012).
What does this mean for the CEMAC member states?
The case of Greece presents a variety of potential implications for members of the CEMAC member states since it creates the possibility that one if not several of the states involved would not derive the same amount of benefit from regional integration as compared to the other states within CEMAC (Nicolas, 2010). Evidence of this possibility can be seen in the fact that despite tariffs supposedly being eliminated in trade between the member countries, the full implementation of this particular type of policy has yet to be into effect. This means that the member states of CEMAC acknowledge the possibility that should they fully open their trade routes and economies to the other member countries there is the very real possibility that this would result in adverse consequences for their local industries. From the perspective of Espinoza, Prasad, & Williams (2011), no state is equal, and to believe so is the height of foolishness, as such, based on the views of realism, it is usually the case that it is the stronger state that derives the most benefit from any bilateral or multilateral agreement with the only course of action of weaker states is either acceptance of the terms of the agreement or not entering into it at all (Espinoza, Prasad, & Williams, 2011). When taking this particular viewpoint into consideration, it becomes obvious why several member states are reluctant if not unwilling to completely remove tariffs due to the potential this has in creating problems for their local economy.
Regional Integration and Dependency Theory
Before proceeding any further, it is important to first examine dependency theory and how it applies to the “hesitance” seen in several of the CEMAC member states involving economic integration. The main idea behind dependency theory is the notion that “various resources from the periphery, representing the poor and under developed states, flow towards the core, representing the rich and industrialized nations” (Nelson and Pack, 1999). It must be noted that the theory itself is a branch of Marxism and was actually heavily developed during the mid- point of the twentieth century (Bhatti,1980). While its main premise was the “core and periphery” system it did come with the implication that poor states were integrated into the world economic order in such a way that developing countries cannot or could not dramatically develop into rich industrialized states under the present political economical world order (Baylis and Smith 2001). At the time of its creation such an assumption proved to be quite true, wealthy industrialized countries at the time had the advantage of technological innovation, modern day infrastructures and systems, an educated population base as well as several centuries worth of social development that emerging economies were hard pressed to even reach a fraction of what such societies had accomplished (Chilcote, 1981). Such a state of affairs can be seen among members of CEMAC wherein relatively “rich” countries such as Cameroon have a well established industrial and economic base as a direct result of its natural resource wealth (i.e. oil). This places it in a situation that enables it be far more economically competitive as compared to its neighboring states such as the Central African Republic or Gabon. Based on the work of Sparkman (1977), which examined how states of varying economic competitiveness within the same region interacted with one another, it was noted in several instances (seen within Asia and varying parts of Eastern Europe) that they fell into patterns of behavior that were similar to the concepts found within dependency theory wherein states that were less economically competitive found themselves in a situation wherein they were merely supplying resources to the more industrialized state and were relegated to a status of static economic dependence instead of dynamic economic competitiveness (Sparkman, 1977). This was seen in the case of the CIS states within Eastern Europe who were relegated to being mere resource providers to Russia when they were integrated within the U.S.S.R instead of developing their own independent economic competitiveness. From the examination of Nindl (2009) of the U.S.S.R and various instances of regional integration within South America, it was seen that weaker states that opened themselves up economically during regional integration became more likely to fall into a pattern of being relegated to the status of being a “periphery” state to the “core” states of the regional cooperative agreement who were more economically competitive (Nindl, 2009). Nindl (2009) describes this as almost inevitable at times due to the fact that while regional integration does facilitate better and more efficient methods of trade this does not necessarily result in the development of a country’s industrial capacity. Carabelli & Cedrini (2010) explains that it is actually a false assumption to believe that regional integration automatically makes a country more competitive (Carabelli & Cedrini, 2010). While it may be true that regional trade does at times results in more opportunities for local industries it must also be noted that other countries within the same regionally cooperative agreement have their own local industries who may be able to supply the same types of products at a fraction of the cost due to better processes and advanced technologies (Canac & Garcia-Contreras, 2011). As such, while the process involved in the flow of goods may significantly improve this does that mean that trade will be equal (Canac & Garcia-Contreras, 2011). This is particularly true for countries within the same region who share distinct socio-cultural traits as well as have similar local environments which would give rise to agricultural products that would be quite similar. Duvall (1978) makes a point of this by stating that the most likely scenario that would occur is that when it comes to regional trade in between countries of varying economic competitiveness is that the country that is less economically competitive would not be able to compete within the markets of the country that has better industries of the same type of product (a very logical conclusion) and as a result would have to adjust in order to develop some form of trade benefit from the regional agreement (Duvall, 1978). In most cases this takes the form of raw material exports which are always in need in. The inherent problem with this as determined by Tkachenko (2009) is that this actually limits the “potential” so to speak of developing local industries to become more competitive in creating products which are native to the region in favor of raw material exports (Tkachenko, 2009). As a result, local industries of certain product types will decline resulting in development stagnation instead of improvements. This was seen in the case of the U.S.S.R wherein states such Moldova, Belarus and even Ukraine became less competitive due to internal policies that focused on providing specific resources which were unique to each region instead of trying to develop their industries as a whole. The end result was an over dependence on Moscow due to the lack of a sufficient local industrial infrastructure. Once the Soviet Union was dissolved this left many Eastern European states within economic and industrial infrastructures that had become too dependent on the more industrial “core” state resulting in them becoming the poorest states in Europe for quite some time as they struggled to develop some form of economic independence (Tkachenko, 2009). In order to survive in such an environment various developing countries fell into the pattern of supplying raw resources to industrialized countries in exchange for various products and technologies. It must be noted that these products and technologies were not bought at the same price of the natural resources sent but rather had a significant amount of added value added to their overall price (Santos, 1970). It is this added value (justified as processing and production costs) that was one of the main reasons why dependency theorists at the time stated that there was little possibility for periphery states to get out of their current situation since more value was flowing towards the core than what was actually flowing out (Frank, 1967). For a time this proved to be true since core states enjoyed years of sustained growth and development as a direct result of the resources flowing into core and the wealth accumulated by selling processed resources to the periphery (Cox, 1981). Taking this into consideration when examining the case of the CEMAC member states, it must be questioned whether the same occurrence will happen or is already happening at the present hence the continued hesitance of several of its members to fully commit towards the economic union. The reason this is relevant to the case of regional integration in Central Africa is due to dependency theory clearly stating that wealthy nations perpetuate a state of dependence on such countries through various means whether it be economic, financial, political or the development of human resources. This is in order to perpetuate a continuous stream of resources towards the core, periphery states need to be kept in a constant state of dependence. How likely is this to occur in the case of the CEMAC member states? “Quite likely”, as seen in the Thonke & Spliid (2012) study which examined trade within various African regions over the past decade (Thonke & Spliid, 2012). While it may be true that the African continent as a whole has been espousing better trade relations, various types of alliances and all sorts of regionally intensive agreements the fact remains that according to Thonke & Spliid (2012) the African states can be considered a microcosm of the state of global affairs at the present wherein it is the stronger states that often take advantage of their weaker counterparts. Clear evidence of this, as stated by Thonke & Spliid (2012) is that despite the fact that clear delineations over territories have already been established within the continent there are still border dispute that exist to this very day and as such it is usually the case that it is the stronger African states that are the instigators of this conflict. Thonke & Spliid (2012) describes this as classical realism in action and predicts that this would entail far more difficult interregional alliances between stronger and weaker states due to the wariness such states would have over any sort of regionally intensive agreement with states that they used to have an “adverse relationship” with, to put it lightly.
Sekaran (2006) noted that a theoretical framework “is a conceptual model of how one theorizes and makes logical sense of the relationships among several factors that have been identified as important to the problem” (p. 87). The elementary function of a theoretical framework is to outline and assess the varied interrelationships that exist between phenomena or variables thought to form a critical constituent of the situational dynamics under study. Sekaran shared that the theoretical framework is modeled around the interrelationship between the independent variables and the dependent variables, in this case it is considered to be instrumental in examining impact of regional integration on trade and human migration.
To better understand the points of conflict in this particular case, realism, liberalism, and neoliberal institutionalism will be utilized in order to examine the decisions of the states involved and determine why they pursued a particular course of action. First and foremost, realists are under the assumption that cooperation between states is difficult to achieve due to the possibility of cheating and the concept of relative gains between different classes of states while from a liberalist perspective cheating does also occur however instead of relative gains what occurs are collective actions problems (Hamati-Ataya, 2010) (Walker, 2008). While the easiest solution to this problem would be to simply enact some form of regional cooperative agreement that ensures a level playing field, a majority of African states have been hesitant if not unwilling to enter into a proper arrangement despite the fact that the conflict of interest in this particular case is one that is merely perceived and not wholly substantiated based on solid evidence (i.e. that cheating would occur or that free trade would devastate their local economies) (Nuri Yurdusev, 2006).
Taking the liberal view into consideration, collective action problems for interstate cooperation can be surmised into 2 distinct problem sets, namely:
- Achieving cooperation between states is relatively costly to organize, monitor and enforce (Wilson, 2011).
- There is the possibility of “free riding” wherein certain states benefit from the cooperation but do not pay the costs of achieving cooperation (Van De Haar, 2009).
From the realist perspective, even if states found themselves in a situation where cooperative action would be mutually beneficial the fact still remains that these states are still concerned over the concept of relative gains that would result from cooperative action (Hall, 2011). This means that another state would gain more than them as a direct result of them entering into a cooperative agreement (Wohlforth, 2011). Based on this, realists state that cooperation is a lot more difficult to achieve than otherwise believed due to the behavior of states where they would give up the potential gains accrued through cooperation if such cooperative action resulted in greater gains for other parties in the cooperative agreement (Wohlforth, 2011). It is this combination of the realist and liberalist perspective that will serve to highlight and explain the actions of the CEMAC member states regarding their unilateral actions, border conflicts, hesitance to enter into broad free trade agreements, and relative unwillingness to tackle issues related to labor practices despite the perceived benefits that regional cooperation, integration and trade liberalization would have on their local economies.
It must be noted though that there is an alternative to the liberalist and realist view which takes the form of neoliberal institutionalism. The theory of Neo-liberal Institutionalism advocates the use of institutions as facilitators of cooperative action between states (Sterling-Folker, 2000). From the neo-liberal institutionalist perspective creating institutions, especially qualitative multilateral ones, actually alleviates the problems connected to C.A.P (collective action problems) as well as resolves relative gains concerns (McQuiston, 2009). It must be noted though that from the neoliberal perspective, institutions are not limited to concepts such as the U.N. but can also be described as “a persistent and connected set of rules, formal or informal, that prescribe behavioral roles, constrain activity, and shape expectations” (Hall, 2011). As such when it comes to interstate cooperative action between two or more countries (i.e. the Central African states) the use of institutions becomes a pivotal concept which determines the future of regional cooperation between the parties involved, especially when taking into consideration the positive effects that come about (Cozette, 2008). This particular theory will be utilized in conjunction with the realist and liberalist perspective in order to attempt to show that despite the inherent problems in regional cooperation in the case of the Central African states, the resulting benefits that come about through the use of institutions as a facilitators of cooperative action outweigh the inherent costs and perceived problems involved which in the end creates a positive impact on trade and human migration.
The assumptions of realism are:
- The international system is anarchic.
- There is no authority above states capable of regulating their interactions; states must arrive at relations with other states on their own, rather than it being dictated to them by some higher controlling entity.
- States mold the system through the use of statecraft.
Under the Realist perspective sovereign states are considered the primary actors in international relations and as such are the main moves in the international system (Guzzini, 2004). When it comes to international institutions such as the United Nations, non-governmental organizations such as CEMAC, Greenpeace, Amnesty international etc., multinational corporations such as the Blackstone Group and other sub-state or trans-state actors, they are all viewed by the Realist perspective as having little independent influence on international affairs. This is important to take note of when it comes to the explaining the unilateral actions of the member states of CEMAC. Since the basis of regional integration is the implementation of a sufficient international institution to mitigate concerns regarding cheating and to ensure compliance to agreed upon economic terms and policies, if such an institution cannot enforce compliance then it is unlikely that sufficient or even effective regional integration can take place which creates positive economic results (Williams, 2004). If the realist position is to be believed then it can be stated that despite the creation of CEMAC it is unlikely that Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon will comply with the regional policies mandated by CEMAC so long as there no effective means of enforcement in place. This is not to say that despite the realist perspective regional integration is outright impossible, this is a faulty assumption given that there are many examples of regional integration throughout the world such as the E.U., A.S.E.A.N and many others, rather it is more prudent to say that regional integration is difficult to achieve given that it would require an institution to dictate the action of a state which is not possible under the realist perspective but is achievable under neoliberal institutionalism to a certain degree (Williams, 2004). From the perspective of Lebow (2011) it would all depend on the function of the institution and the level of “powers” given to it by the member states (Lebow, 2011). For example, in the case of the European Union, the E.U. Central Commission has to a certain degree the ability to dictate the economic policies of region as a whole especially when it comes to aspects related to inter-state trade and control over their shared currency. In the case of the A.S.E.A.N such a degree of control is not present and is more inclined towards promoting regional trade and helping the member states negotiate as a block. An examination of CEMAC reveals that in its current form it lacks both the authority and ability to enforce specific mandates. This would, as a result, lead to individual member states enacting their own economic policies instead of that prescribed by CEMAC, which is actually happening at the present as evidenced by a state of competition instead of cooperation.
Another aspect of the Realist perspective is the view that states are considered rational unitary actors with all of them pursuing actions both internationally and domestically for the sake of their national interest (Walker & Morton, 2005). It is interesting to note that in this particular case Realism presents the assumption that states have a general distrust of long-term cooperation or alliance due to the potential for abuse by the other state that enters into the said agreement (Walker & Morton, 2005). Despite regularly engaging in situations of necessary international cooperation, nation states still continue to strategize in order to maintain the states’ national advantage. Larger and richer nations, such as Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon perceive this move as one that increases their leverage while smaller states such as the Republic of Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic accept being seen and treated as trivial characters in the international playing field.
One of the base principles of the realist theory explains that for each state “national interest” becomes the overriding facilitator of decision making due to the necessity of national security and survival (Kelanic, 2008). As such, in pursuit of national security, states strive to amass resources whether economic, military or political in order to ensure the survival of the state.
The concept of national interest is often defined as a country’s inherent goals in relation to the pursuit of particular economic, military or cultural objectives (Kelanic, 2008). This is reflected in various foreign policy mandates in relation to the creation of trade unions, military alliances and other means of achieving mandated state goals. What must be understood is that based on the theory of realism in international relations the pursuit of national interests is one of the primary goals of the state and thus helps to shape its foreign policy in order to achieve certain ends (Kratochwil, 1982). This is not to imply that national interests are the primary reason behind the shaping of foreign policy but rather create the need behind the policy in the first place (Kratochwil, 1982). For example, if a country finds that it is surrounded by hostile states its national interest would be the preservation of the state from outside incursion which would impact its foreign policy in dealing with those particular states (Adivilah, 2009). This is reflected in the case of Israel and its foreign policy agenda against several Middle Eastern countries within the region. Similarly, if a country has distinct economic agendas in terms of encouraging economic growth and development this would in turn have a distinct impact on its foreign policy agendas as well. This is seen in the case of Singapore and its utilization of Free Trade Agreements with various states resulting in its development into an import/export hub within the South East Asian region. For the CEMAC member states, their main national interests take the form of addressing the problem of the urban and rural poor that are ubiquitous within the region as well as improving the state of their local economies. Despite this necessity it must be noted that studies such as those by Cattaneo (2009) which examined the level of economic assistance and cooperation within the region have cited that while there has been a certain degree of economic cooperation it is still nowhere near the numbers that should be present given the decade that has elapsed between the creation of CEMAC and the present (Cattaneo, 2009). One way of trying to address this disparity between national interests and the current reality that the Central African states are currently experiencing is to examine what specific factors influence the implementation of national interests in the case of the CEMAC member states. Studies such as those by Piesse & Hearn (2012) have revealed that there is a greater disparity in resource allocation within the Central African states wherein only 10 to 20 percent of the population enjoys 90 percent of the resources which relegates the remaining 80 to 90 percent of the population to live in poverty (Piesse & Hearn, 2012). Thus, from the perspective of Piesse & Hearn (2012) the national interests of the Central African states are more inclined towards the private interests of individuals who control the wealth of the country. This has serious policy implications for the individual states since this would mean that while the “outward” national interests presented by the states in CEMAC are for poverty alleviation and improving local economic conditions, their “inward” interests are more predisposed towards the preservation of the status quo and ensuring the preservation of the business interests of those in power.
Individuals and Policy Creation
One of the categories of influence in creating foreign policy are individuals and their inherent personalities from which the concept of ideology comes into play. What must be understood is that individuals who are the decision makers of the state (i.e. presidents, prime ministers, congress, senate etc.) have access to and are inherent facilitators of the policy making process that creates foreign policy (Fritz, 2004). They take into account national interests and global influences and formulate foreign policy as a direct response to these two influences. In the case of the CEMAC member states this takes on a decidedly different turn of events since it has been shown by studies such as those by Vieira & Alden (2011) which examined the governing bodies of the Central African states that corruption is endemic and even expected at times wherein government officials within these states have a predilection to be influenced by outside influences rather than focus on national interests (Vieira & Alden, 2011). While it may be true that corruption exists in a multitude of governments, in the case of the CEMAC member states this degree of corruption has in effect prevented sufficient policy changes from taking effect which will be discussed in further detail within this study.
When examining the case of regional integration in Central Africa it is curious to note that while current literature on the subject has focused on the supposed benefits such an integration would create, it neglects to delve into the varying effects of such benefits on individual states. The last principle of Realism lies in the distinction that relationships between states are actually determined by their comparative level of power (one state being more powerful than the resulting in the more powerful state controlling the weaker state) which is derived from either their military or economic capabilities or even a combination of both aspects. It is based on this perspective that the relationship between the member states within CEMAC can be considered as distinctly unequal, the extent of which will be covered in the next few sections.
On a relatively minor note is the impact of global influences on the decisions of states. Global influences take the form of various events that drive the interactions between states. These can entail the resulting influence of global economic markets on local economies, wars, natural disasters, trade agreements and a variety of other factors which occur on an international level. What must be understood is that foreign policy objectives are not static but are considered to be a dynamic response to a combination of global events in relation to a country’s national interest. For example, the U.S. at the present is no longer pursuing a foreign policy strategy of isolation against communism similarly Russia, as a transitional state, no longer possesses a foreign policy that is distinctly hostile against the U.S. but is focusing more on expanding its influence in the region not through military expansion but through resource allocation and distribution as seen in its use of petrol politics (the denial of resources particularly oil or gas in order to gain political or economic concessions) in its relationship with various countries in Eastern Europe who are dependent on Russian exports of natural gas.
As it can be seen through these examples foreign policies change over time not only through inherent national interests but as a direct result of global influences which change national interests. In fact it can even be stated that global influences play a distinct role in changing national interests (as seen in the case of the U.S. and international terrorism) which further shows how national interests cannot be considered the only means of directly influencing foreign policy decisions and objectives.
When examining the sustainability of cooperation among the Central African states and the subsequent impact of regional integration on trade and human migration, the examination must be done utilizing realism and liberalism to examine the difficulties in cooperation while at the same time should utilize neoliberal institutionalism to show a potential solution to such problems in the form of creating institutions that can mitigate the concerns brought up by the realist and liberalist perspective. By doing so, this study will be able to present a solution to the problems that will undoubtedly show up as this study on impact of regional integration on trade and human migration progresses.
Comparative Case of Economic Competitiveness: Examining the (CEMAC) Member states”
The Case of Gabon
An examination of Gabon reveals a relatively robust economy which is actually similar to that of many Middle Eastern countries in that a large percentage of the country’s GDP (often times reaching 43%) is centered around the oil industry. Rather regrettably this has resulted in a certain overreliance on oil as a revenue generator for many local industries resulting in industrial stagnation which is further worsened by an overall lack of sufficient local entrepreneurial activity. It is interesting to note that by combining the work Leifer (2000) which examined the case of Singapore within A.S.E.A.N and that of Gabon (2012) which examined Gabon in CEMAC a rather surprising correlation can be seen wherein Gabon’s willingness to be part of CEMAC and develop better trade relations is similar to that of Singapore in its wish to develop better methods of free trade amongst the A.S.E.A.N member states (Gabon, 2012) (Leifer, 2000). This inherent predilection to be more open to trade is due to the lack of sufficient local industries to protect and that both countries are heavily reliant on imports. It was actually seen in the case of the now defunct E.U.-A.S.E.A.N agricultural agreement that Singapore actually pushed for free trade relations with the E.U. despite the fact that this would negatively impact other nations within A.S.E.A.N due to the Common Agricultural Policy (CARP) that was prevalent within the E.U. at the time which would have inevitably resulted in agricultural product dumping if the agreement had pushed through (it did not due to most of the member states agreeing that it would not be within their best interests to have their local markets overwhelmed by heavily subsidized foreign imports) (Hagstrom, 2005) (Gorvett, 2005). Taking this into consideration, it can be seen that Gabon’s current willingness to engage in the lowering of tariffs is in itself due to the fact that it would not be negatively impacted should cheaper exports from other African states enter its borders (Hagstrom, 2005). From another perspective it can also be assumed that other states would also be willing to develop better trade relations with Gabon in the form of free trade due to the fact that Gabon’s local industries have stagnated to the point that they are not as competitive nor as robust as those found within other Central African states (Gabon, 2011). An examination of the econometric data from the past 10 years examining the impact of interregional trade should shed light on the amount of imports entering into Gabon and help to determine the extent of its trade with other Central African states. Interviewing various managers/business owners within Gabon will enable the researcher to determine whether regional integration has created a positive impact for the local economy since it has thus enabled the creation of a better imports oriented economy for a country that is dependent on external sources for a wide variety of its local needs. It must be noted though that despite the fact that regional integration would enable local importers to improve their businesses there is still the issue of unequal distribution of income within the country. Despite the fact that Gabon is has relatively rich oil reserves only 20% of the population actually enjoys 90% of the oil wealth with the remainder being relegated to poverty due to the near nonexistent “trickle-down effect” within the local economy (CIA: The World Factbook: Gabon, 2011). As such, regional integration in the case of Gabon resolves not only issues related to cheaper product imports but also opens the avenue for locals within Gabon to potentially travel to other countries within Central Africa that have better opportunities due to more robust local industries. Though it is apparent that Gabon would definitely reap considerable benefits from regional integration another factor that should be taken into consideration is the potential long term effects this sort of agreement would have on the local economy given the finite supply of oil within the country. Recent studies such as those by Witherbee (2011) which have examined the state of Gabon’s oil supply indicate that by 2025 all of Gabon’s oil reserves will be depleted (Witherbee, 2011). This has been backed up by data which shows that as of late the amount of oil produced within Gabon from its peak in 1997 which resulted in 370,000 barrels produced per day has gone down to 180,000 to 220,000 as of late. This due to problems involved in extracting crude oil from ever dwindling supplies. The problem with Gabon’s reliance on oil and the “opening up” of its local markets to regional exports is the fact that this will decimate any potential for its local industries to improve to a level that they would become regionally competitive. By allowing imports from countries that have more efficient and competitive industries this would render local industries unable to compete on the same level. While it may be true that this can be addressed by the fact that exports from other countries within the region can encompass a wide variety of different products and may not necessarily overwhelm the entirety of the local economy, the fact still remains that enough local companies will be affected that while in the short term the country will prosper, in the long term there will insufficient precedent for the development of local competitiveness resulting in the complete destruction of the Gabon economy once its oil reserves are completely depleted. While other countries within the same circumstances have addressed this issue by planning for the future via infrastructure and economic development through the use of oil wealth, such a system is unfortunately missing in the case of Gabon with plans for an “after oil scenario” barely within the works. This actually presents a very interesting issue since while the researcher expects positive results for trade between Gabon and various Central African states in terms of the flow of imports into the country from the past 10 years, in the next 20 to 25 years given the current situation of Gabon and if nothing is done about it, it can be expected that regional integration in this particular case would actually be detrimental for Gabon in the long run given that its local industries will have no possibility of developing due to them being overrun beforehand.
The Case of Equatorial Guinea
Similar to the case of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea relies heavily on its oil wealth as a means of sustaining its economy with a significant level of import reliance due to its relatively weak local agricultural sector. Unlike Gabon though, the reason behind Equatorial Guinea’s rather lack luster local agricultural and industrial development is due to numerous successive brutal regimes within the country which in effect decimated the potential for agricultural led growth within the country with endemic corruption in various levels of the government. It must be noted though that just because the country now currently relies heavily on its oil industry does not mean that it is the only major industry within the country. Previously, cocoa production, forestry farming, and fishing factored heavily into the GDP of the country, it was only when oil was discovered in 1996 that an abrupt shift in the economy of the country occurred. Recent evaluations of the country such as those by Badertscher (2011) have stated that while oil wealth has certainly helped to raise the GDP of the country to its current rank of 28th in the world, however, similar to the case of Gabon the “trickle-down effect is also nearly nonexistent with only a small percentage of the population actually benefitting from the wealth of the country (Badertscher, 2011). Nearly 70% of the population subsists on $2 a day with very little in the form of sufficiently competitive local industries to create an export oriented economy (Aworawo, 2010). It is based on this that it can be stated that regional integration in the case of Equatorial Guinea would definitely be a boon for local import markets, however, due to the relatively unequal distribution of wealth within the country as well as the amount of demand and the ability of the local population to actually pay for goods and services it is unlikely that any significant amount of demand would be perceived. Not only that, similar to the case of Gabon its local industries also have the potential to also be overwhelmed by cheap foreign imports as a direct result of the lowering of tariffs so that also presents itself as a cause for concern once the oil wealth runs out.
The Case of Chad
An examination of Chad reveals similarities with that of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in that a large percentage of government revenue is derived from the oil industry with very few local industries to even be close to what can be considered as “economically competitive” (CIA: The World Factbook: Chad, 2011). Aside from oil, the cotton industry also plays a role in the country’s economy albeit at a drastically reduced rate as compared to what was seen in the early 1990s. Further examination of the country reveals that its lack of overall progress (as indicated by its current status as the 7th poorest country in the world) is due not only to endemic corruption in the government (a common theme seen in this examination so far) but it is also due to numerous internal conflicts which have decimated the potential for any relevant agricultural, mining or manufacturing industries to sufficiently establish themselves (CIA: The World Factbook: Chad, 2011). The local population survives through subsistence farming with an increasingly high demand for imports but little if any export market to speak of outside of oil and cotton (Weibel, Béchir, Hattendorf, Bonfoh, Zinsstag, & Schelling, 2011). Not only that, the country also suffers from the same isolation of income as seen in the case of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea wherein only a small percentage of the population actually benefits from the oil wealth the country has (in this case nearly 80% of the population is in severe poverty) (Weibel, Béchir, Hattendorf, Bonfoh, Zinsstag, & Schelling, 2011). It is from this perspective that it must be questioned what exactly would Chad derive from regional integration if it neither has sufficiently capable local industries to be export competitive as well as insufficient funds to actually drive an import oriented economy.
The Case of the Central African Republic
Due to its land locked nature, significant oil deposits have not been found within this particular country and as such has led to the development of a multitude of different industries ranging from diamond extraction and agriculture to various types of forestry activities and even cattle raising (Badertscher, 2011). It must be noted thought that despite the fact that the country is rich in natural resources there is little in the way of their actual utilization and subsequent impact. This is mainly due to continued instances of internal conflict within the country which has actually spilled over into the borders of its neighbors resulting in rising tensions within the region today as growing dissatisfaction over the present day social system results in minor uprisings occurring in various regional hotspots (Background Note: Central African Republic, 2005). Overall, the Central African Republic shows potential as a future mineral resource and agricultural exporter; however, it lacks sufficient foreign direct investments in order to make this a reality. It is thus expected by the researcher that regional integration for the Central African Republic could result in the subsequent development of local industries as wealthy individuals seek to exploit the country’s largely untapped mineral wealth.
The Republic of Congo
Once again a similar story can be seen in the case of the Republic of Congo wherein 92% of its exports are based on petroleum while only a small percentage of its local economy has developed even “sufficient” levels of agricultural improvement (Congo, 2011). While the country does have potential as a diamond, gold and metal exporter such industries have remained relatively untapped due government mismanagement.
The Case of Cameroon
An examination of the Cameroonian economy shows several interesting features that make it quite distinctive from the other members of CEMAC. While it may be true that similar to the case of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea the extraction of oil factors heavily into the country’s GDP, however, it does not occupy the same level of overbearing dominance seen in the aforementioned countries, rather oil production only makes up 40% of Cameroon’s economy with the remainder being split among agriculture, fishery and forestry industries. This actually makes Cameroon’s local economy far more internally sustainable in the long run due to the diversity and strength of its local industries. In fact its fishery industry alone catches 20,000 tons of seafood a year with a large percentage going to various international markets such as those in South Korea. It is based on this that the researcher assumes that regional integration in the case of Cameroon will result in significant export boosts for Cameroon based industries due the import reliance of other countries within CEMAC who do not have sufficiently capable local industries to provide the needs of their population. From this particular perspective it can be seen that regional integration in the case of the CEMAC member states could possibly be oriented more towards a form of partnership rather than direct competition since some states such as Cameroon could effectively provide for the needs of other countries within the region.
From this section it can be seen that the same story can be seen over and over again within most of the CEMAC member states wherein there is a strong reliance on the oil industry, little in the way of sufficient development initiatives to create a diversified export market, rampant poverty and social inequality as well as considerable levels of internal conflict brought about by the previous factors. As such, from a certain perspective it can be stated that the countries within CEMAC would benefit more from partnership agreements rather than competition since their local industrial potential is far too weak to actually be able to compete with each in terms of sufficiently developed localized industries that could potentially overwhelm local markets. On the other hand, it can be seen that some countries have far more developed agricultural and manufacturing industries than others (though relatively small in comparison to other states) such as in the case of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. As such, the potential does exist that those who have better local industries would stand to gain more from regional integration than those who have very little in the way of sufficient industrial development. It must also be noted that several of the countries involved are continuing to develop strategies for an “after oil” scenario once their oil wealth dries up. As such, many governments would view their local industries being overwhelmed by products from their neighbors as detrimental towards their long term goals of local economic sustainability. It is based on such a factor that the development of a certain degree of “hesitance” towards the complete lowering of trade barriers would develop since such an action would result in some states gaining a distinct advantage due to their relatively more “robust” industries which would in effect create problems for any government initiatives to create a resurgence in the development of local industries.
An examination of the current literature surrounding the CEMAC member states reveals that there have been few studies which have attempted to examine the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration on the basis of economic factors on a macro scale (involving the economies of states involved) as well as an examination on a micro scale (involving people such as business owners, employees and migrants). It is not known whether regional integration in the case of the Central African states has resulted in changes which can be arguably felt by people on the local level. Even if the governments of such countries say that there is definite impact, if the citizens of these countries who are suppose to be affected by such changes say otherwise this means that the methods of regional integration that have been implemented are in effect either insufficient or ineffective. Given that economic policies for the promotion of regional integration such as free trade in between the member states of CEMAC have yet to be implemented, this in effect questions whether the states are working as competitors instead of partners which as a result would prevent any form of effective regional integration from actually coming to pass.
The main purpose of this research project is to determine whether regional integration has had an impact on trade and human migration in the case of the Central African states who are part of CEMAC. This should manifest itself as some form of positive or negative effect such as greater/ lesser amounts of trade, easier/ harder movement of people and resources in between the CEMAC member as well as other such manifestations. By the end of this study, the researcher will utilize the accumulated data in order to make specific policy recommendations to address any perceived problems and to attempt to predict how this economic alliance (i.e. CEMAC) will evolve given the correlated data. It is expected that this research should have a profound impact on how the international community will view the concept of regional integration and how it applies to African states.
Research Question and Hypothesis
It is the hypothesis of this study that while the CEMAC member states state that they desire regional integration so as to create better opportunities for the region as a whole, their mutual distrust and inherent competitiveness makes cooperation that much harder resulting in an ineffective method of regional integration that is barely felt on the local level. Qualitative questioning will address the following question: What is the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration in the case of the Central African states.
The following analysis of the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration within the aforementioned Central African states will be conducted on 2 different levels: economic effects and social implications. Consequentially, each level requires a different methodological approach to meet the particular characteristics. In general, this analysis is based on the triangulation research method that combines both quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation methods.
- Economic effects: The study of the economic effects is based on desk research. I used secondary literature as well as secondary quantitative data that had been collected by researchers and Central African institutions (e.g. the National Statistical Office; the Ministry of Finance; various National Banks etc.). The used literature consists of academic papers, government and other official Central African states reports, and studies by international organizations.
- Social implications: The analysis of the social implications requires a different approach and was therefore requires two steps. At first, I used secondary research (mainly academic papers) to work out the primary aspects here. Having this theoretical
knowledge in mind, I will conduct primary research in the form of interviews or questionnaire distribution during a short stay in various CEMAC member states by September 2012 (or at a later date). I will use a guided interview technique/ questionnaire distribution strategy when talking to various Africans within the region in order to ensure compliance to proper academic standards. The main intent of this part of the study is explorative in nature in order to fill gaps that had been arisen from the desk research;
hence I will not explicitly mention the results in the succeeding portion of the analysis but will include them in the general text after the. A second social implication that resulted from the secondary research was the presence of the so called transnational class (TC) which refers to populations within the CEMAC member states that migrate as a direct result of a variety of factors (i.e. jobs, famine, etc.). It was deemed important by the researcher to get to know and understand the life of this group, and to explore any impact they may have on the host society (i.e. positive or negative). This will done through structured interviews with various foreign workers.
The main assumption of this study is that while regional integration has indeed resulted in some positive economic results for the CEMAC member states, there still exists a considerable degree of distrust among the members which creates limited instead of outright reformation of current protectionist policies. It is assumed by the researcher that one of the reasons behind this is the unequal distribution of economic power among members of CEMAC with the economically well off (for the region) states such as Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon having advanced considerably in industrialization and trade as compared to the Republic of Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic. Based on the work of Zawahri & Mitchell (2011) which examined the actions of states involved in bilateral and multilateral agreements, it was often the case that weaker nations viewed their stronger counterparts with a certain degree of distrust in matters relating to economic and trade agreements due to the potential negative impacts such deals may have on their local economy (Zawahri & Mitchell, 2011). It is not that entering into a bilateral or multilateral agreement can be considered negative, far from it, many bilateral and multilateral deals throughout the years have resulted in positive economic effects for the countries involved. The problems lies in the fact that stronger states tend to gain more from entering into any form of agreement with weaker states by virtue of their economic might which enables them to effectively dictate the terms of the agreement and enforce them when necessary. This would of course present itself as a problem for weaker states due to the potential for any number of possible consequences that may come about such as: cheaper foreign imports which would devastate their local economy, the possibility of product dumping, overly strict export requirements in order to meet the “standards” of the stronger state, as well as unregulated human migration which as a result could take jobs away from local residents. As Zawahri & Mitchell (2011) explains, states often times hesitate to enter into a variety of bilateral and multilateral agreements due to the potential for abuse by the larger state, as such, it is often the case that they would prefer to not enter into the agreement at all, barring some form of protectionist measure, in order to ensure that their local industries would be preserved from undue hardship as a result of direct competition from foreign exports (Zawahri & Mitchell, 2011). Evidence of this degree of hesitance on a regional level can be seen in the interactions between the E.U. and A.S.E.A.N. wherein A.S.E.A.N has been unwilling to enter into any form of free trade agreement due to the potential for agricultural product dumping by the E.U. When presented with a revised trade agreement which showed a degree of protectionism for the local agricultural industries of the A.S.E.A.N member states it was the E.U. this time that refused to enter into the agreement. Simonelli (2009) explains that this was indicative of the fact that the E.U. actually had ulterior motives aside from promoting greater trade relations in the form of product dumping. In relation to this is the realist theory in international relations which states that cooperation between states is difficult to achieve due to the possibility of cheating and the concept of relative gains between different classes of states (i.e. stronger states gaining more from an agreement than weaker states) (Simonelli, 2009). Taking this into consideration it is the assumption of the researcher that while there is a certain degree of regional integration present as a result of CEMAC, the creation of broad cooperative agreements would be difficult to achieve as explained by the realist theory involving inter-state cooperation and as a result would manifest itself in the form of an insufficient or ineffective degree economic cooperation. In the case of the CEMAC member states this manifest itself in the form of the prospective lifting of tariffs which have yet to be fully implemented as well as considerable levels of border tensions despite the fact that all members of CEMAC have access to a regional passport system that allows transit in between the various member states without undue problems. Thus, from the various facts presented in this section it can be seen that the there is a certain degree of justification behind the stated assumptions of the researcher regarding the potential problems with regional integration in the case of CEMAC. Before proceeding, it must be noted that the researcher also assumes that one of the reasons behind the inherent problems in achieving effective regional cooperation is due to the high levels of corruption within the governing bodies of the countries involved in CEMAC. This level of endemic corruption has shown itself to create problems for regional cooperation due to the self-serving nature of corrupted officials.
The present study will utilize a mixed quantitative/qualitative research design to explore the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration. This is fundamentally a qualitative study with quantitative data gathered to further support the conclusions of the study. This study will thus rely on regression analysis in order to measure the relations between such independent variables as regional integration, particularly the adoption of free trade agreements, and dependent variables such as the intensity of trade and migration in this region. Not only that, the econometric data of the last ten years of the CEMAC states will also be examined in order to create a more in- depth analysis on the economic effects of regional integration. Furthermore, the researcher will also rely on such qualitative methods as interviews in order to see how regional integration affected the lives of urban populations in Central African countries. It is expected that through a combination of the views of local residents of the CEMAC member states as well as the econometric data gathered, the researcher will be able to discern whether there are any positive, negative or even negligible effects that have come about as a direct result of the regional integration brought about through CEMAC. Do note though that while the econometric data need for this study can be obtained through a variety of online databases, the responses from the researcher subjects of this study necessitates the need for the researcher to travel directly to the various Central African states in order to distribute questionnaires and conduct the necessary interviews to gain the needed information for this study. This should not prove to be overly difficult to do so as evidence by the fact that despite such states being ranked among the poorest in the world they actually do have tourist programs and actively try to bring foreigners into the country.
The independent variable in this study consists of the econometric data that will be gathered by the researcher while the dependent variable will consist of the responses gained from the various research subjects that will be recruited for this study. It is anticipated that through a correlation between the researched econometric data and the responses of the research participants, the researcher will in effect be able to make a logical connection regarding the positive or negative effects of regional integration on trade and human migration.
As mentioned earlier, this study will limit itself to primarily distributing questionnaires to members of the urban populace within the CEMAC member states. Aside from this, the research will avoid an examination of the other states within Africa that have undergone regional integration due to the necessity of having to create an even more expansive literature review and population examination that would go beyond the initial premise of this examination. In relation to the econometric data that will be examined, the research will primarily confine itself to a 10 year period starting from the latest available data and going back 10 years from that particular point. While it may be true that econometric data spanning a far longer period is available, it was decided by the researcher that a 10 year period would suffice for the needs of this study.
One major constraint is the lack of suitable and recent data about the economic effects within the Central African states that are to be examined within this study. The National Statistics Office only collects a limited set of econometric data and, in addition, the data mostly stays on a macroeconomic level with little information about the actual implications on the local level. Also, the data of the international organizations (World
Bank, UNCTAD, OECD) is rather incomplete. It is based on this that I will work out the specific characteristics of the development in within individual states to a large extent, but will indicate the parts where I had to revert to macroeconomic findings due to a lack of pertinent sufficient local data.
In terms of the social analysis, primary research has been conducted to fill some of the evolving gaps and to get a better insight into the matter. Yet, it must be noted that the time constraint only allows structured interviews/ questionnaire distribution with an unrepresentative number of people, and also a limited flexibility when conducting the interviews/ distributing the questionnaires. A general overview is therefore not possible, although the statements certainly add to the knowledge about the impact of regional integration.
Overall, the data collection process is expected to be uneventful; however, some challenges may be present in collecting demographic/ economic data over the past 10 years due to the inherent limitations in data collection procedures by the Central African states utilized in this study. Such issues though can be resolved through access to online academic resources such as EBSCO hub, Academic Search Premier, Master FILE Premier, Newspaper Source Plus, and AP News Monitor Collection. Other databases consulted for this topic include Emerald Insight, Academic OneFile, Expanded Academic ASAP, General OneFile, Global Issues in Context, Newsstand, Opposing Views in Context, Popular Magazines, and World History in Context as well as other such online databases which should have the necessary information. Relevant books were also included in the review. Furthermore websites such as The Economist.com have several online articles which contain snippets of information that should be able to help steer the study towards acquiring the necessary sources needed to justify asserted arguments.
Significance of the Study
While there have been extensive studies which have examined the various problems that have impacted Africa, few have focused on a combination of the personal opinion of the local residents alongside that of econometric data in order to create a “picture” so to speak of the impact that the current trend in regional integration has on local trade and human migrations within the context of the Central African states. Currently, it is the prevailing consensus that regional integration is not necessarily a seamless process despite the potential this has in creating positive economic and social effects for the states that enter into it. This was seen in the case of the European Union, A.S.E.A.N (Association of South East Nations), the Arab League and a variety of other examples of regional integration which current prevailing literature shows were created over time and after a considerable degree of negotiation due to the economic imbalances of the member states and the potential for relative gains to occur which would result in a greater predilection towards not entering into a bilateral or multilateral agreement due to the perception that gains could not be shared equally. In light of this, it does not become surprising then that such problems are also present in the case of the CEMAC member states; however, unlike the examples of regional integration given the Central African states in question have to deal with problems that are not limited to mere economic issues. Rather, the problems they are currently experience range from rampant poverty, low levels of economic development, corruption in various levels of the government, insufficient external trade, climate change, human migration as a result of famine, labor issues and a host of other problems which makes regional integration that much harder to sufficiently implement and can create an almost negligible impact on trade. It is based on this that this study helps to create a better understanding on how regional integration creates an impact on such and whether it has resulted in positive effects for trade and human migration. This study can have significant implications for policy-makers. Its findings can tell whether the policies are effective and how they can be improved.
The birth of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) was heralded as a means to create an atmosphere in the sub-region of Central Africa where all the member states could enjoy its benefits. The results are however far from the original expectations. Member states are still taking unilateral actions. There are perceptible border tensions despite the existence of a common passport for all six states. Overall, the origins of this integration can be traced to the early sixties, when the first free trade agreements were concluded; on the basis of these agreements, the Economic Community of Central African States was formed (IMF 2006). At the given moment, the effects of this policy are still debated by economists and sociologists (Ulfelder, 2008). The problem in this study will be to examine the impacts of regional integration in Central Africa in this chapter.
The main focus of this chapter, the literature review chapter, will be on the effects of regional integration on trade, migration, and border control as it appears in the current scholarly literature. This chapter will investigate current scholarship into the most important question, namely, whether Central African countries currently act as partners or competitors as a result of regional integration.
Prior research has primarily focused on the free trade agreements adopted by the governments of Central African states, and their role in attracting new investors (Yang & Gupta, 2007). For example, such scholars as Yang and Gupta (2007) tried to determine if the liberalization of international policies did revitalize economic life in this region. Similar research has been done by Ronald Pourtier (2003), who examined the current integration projects in Central Africa. It should be noted that this research discussed the influence of these policies on the demographic situation in this region. The analysis of regional integration is primarily based on various theories of free trade which postulate that elimination of trade barriers and liberalization policies are vital for successful functioning of the economy and infrastructure.
As the current study will be based on the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the literature review will reflect this methodology wherever possible (Hesse-Biber, 2010). Studies that have employed regression analysis in order to measure the relations between such independent variables as regional integration, particularly the adoption of free trade agreements, and dependent variables like the intensity of trade and migration in the CEMAC region, will be highlighted. In line with the goals of the study, the literature review will concern itself with the econometric data and studies published from within the last ten years. Furthermore, the literature review will include studies that have relied primarily on such qualitative methods as interviews in order to gather key data, specifically to answer the question of how regional integration has affected the lives of urban populations in Central African countries. Finally, the literature review will examine the effects of regional integration on border control between CEMAC member states.
The following literature review on the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration in Central Africa employed a number of different search methods in its compilation. The research began with online searches of several academic databases, hosted by the EBSCO hub, Academic Search Premier, Master FILE Premier, Newspaper Source Plus, and AP News Monitor Collection. Other databases consulted for this topic include Emerald Insight, Academic OneFile, Expanded Academic ASAP, General OneFile, Global Issues in Context, Newsstand, Opposing Views in Context, Popular Magazines, and World History in Context. Relevant books were also included in the review. The combined effect of the scholarly literature and the books allowed the researcher to glean a comprehensive reading of the topic. This in turn created the structural support for the concepts of economic integration, trade, regional integration, human migration, and the particular challenges the continent of Africa faces in implementing a viable model of regional integration.
Regional integration refers to the economic practice wherein distinct states enter into a regional treaty or accord in order to develop regional cooperation amongst themselves. Typically, regional integration is achieved through a series of institutions and regulations drafted by and adhered to by all member states. Simply put, regional integration is a course of action by which an assemblage of countries frees up trade restrictions by negotiating free trade zones or customs unions. This process thereby develops the common market amongst member states wherein services, goods and capital can be freely bought and sold, and individuals from member states enjoy relaxed labor, travel, and citizenship laws (Massara & Udaeta, 2010; Ohmae, 1995). In more complex example of regional integration, member states may introduce a standardized currency, enact uniform policies and make some legislation uniform, as exemplified by the European Union (Ohmae, 1995). Since the late 20th century, the global order has radically changed: individual borders no longer dictate economic relationships. The experience of Greece notwithstanding, the European Union emerged as a clear example of the benefits of regional integration, including expanded markets and greater opportunity for trade. Additional benefits of regional integration include lower prices for consumers, enhanced security, increased economic competition, higher levels of investment, both domestic and foreign, and overall improvement in economic and social stability among member states.
Beyond this simple definition lies a host of challenges however, particularly in a system as diverse as Africa. Member states of the European Union, for example, while diverse in language and culture, are all relatively affluent Western democracies that exist geographically close together. Africa, by contrast, is a massive continent characterized by huge differences in wealth, ethnicity, terrain, religion, political systems, and access to natural resources among its millions of citizens (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012; Martijn & Tsangarides, 2010; Mutambara, 2009; Severino, 2001; United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2008). The long-term goal of regional integration is ultimately economic in nature; however, the journey toward full economic integration starts with an organized regional agreement among interested parties, which is incredibly challenging in Africa (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). The numerous interests located in the African continent share the common goal of devising, sustaining and constructing an “all inclusive African Economic Union” with the aim of promoting economic augmentation throughout the continent of Africa, as well as providing am incentive for political constancy and viable governance (Ott & Patino, 2009, p. 287). However, in a continent as diverse as Africa, the prospect of regional integration of its countries throws up significant roadblocks to implementation (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). As Otto and Patino (2009) explain:
The African Universe is marked by a high degree of diversity among its members…Africa is a vast continent with 56 countries…50 are in the Sub-Saharan region and…6 in North Africa. Although…geographically in the African continent… Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Western Sahara are commonly identified as Middle Eastern countries…The geographical distribution of the 50 countries in Africa South of the Sahara is such that 18 countries are in West Africa, 8 countries in East Africa…including the Horn of Africa…10 countries in Central Africa, 10 countries in Southern Africa and 4 countries are Indian Ocean Islands (p. 287).
On the continent of Africa, the acknowledged aim and purpose of economic integration is understood to be laying the groundwork for economic expansion and improved material comfort for its citizens (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). However, as Ott and Patino (2009) note, “other motives obviously cannot be ruled out: political stability, exercise of political power in the global economy, or improving the continent’s image in the international arena” (p. 285).
The World Bank has long been an advocate of regional integration plans in Africa (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). In recent years, the World Bank has “significantly scaled up support…following the launch of the IDA regional financing instrument and dedicated pool of funding in 2003 and formation of the Africa Regional Integration Department in 2004” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 5; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). Stalwart regional institutions are required to bring the African countries together and to organize national level policy reforms, structure collective regional activities and support the “platform, impetus and commitment mechanism for deeper integration” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 4; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012).
The main challenges are that Africa is a collection of a host of regional institutions (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). At the top level, the African Union “seeks to unify the continent through a process of political and economic integration” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 5; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). At the lower regional level, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities or RECs are composed of “groupings of neighboring countries working together to tackle joint development issues, create free trade blocks and customs unions and ultimately form political unions” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012).
Many analysts consider the Africa’s Regional Economic Communities as the essential “building blocks to the African Common Market” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012; Fawcett & Gandois, 2010; Hartzenberg, 2011). In addition, an arrangement of regional technical organizations have also been established to attend to “sector or geographic specific issues such as river basin, power pool and transport corridor management” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012).
Economic development in Africa is challenged by the continent’s “unique physical, economic and political geography” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 8; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). Political borders do not often match with the financial and natural resources and a number of countries do not have access to water for transportation, so must rely on other forms. Also, “national economies and populations are generally quite small, but cover large geographic expanses with poor connective infrastructure” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012).
The continent of Africa is also comprised of a “diverse array of regional institutions promoting greater political and economic integration among neighboring countries and tackling shared resource management issues” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). The main goal of the African Union is to bring together African countries under a common political vision and common economic market (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). In addition, at the regional level, the Regional Economic Communities join neighboring countries and organizations to tackle “common development challenges and deepen economic and political integration” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 7; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012). Africa’s regional technical organizations concentrate on “specific cross-border issues such as international river basin management, regional power trading and cross-border disease transmission” (Africa’s Regional Institutions, 2012, par. 11; Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012).
This literature review lead the researcher to the conclusion that improving the lives of the people in Africa through the ultimate goal of successful regional integration may occur in some countries and not in others, due in large part to the broadly divergent stages of development that exist within the continent, the power and advanced nature of other well- established trading blocs in the world such as the European Union and NAFTA, the dearth of a common African currency, post-colonial traditions, massive continent-wide debt (Danso, 1995; Ott & Patino, 2009). In addition, the continent of Africa suffers from a deeply neglected infrastructure. According to the African Development Bank Group (2011):
Poor communications inhibit free interstate movement of goods and services [and] are major obstacles facing continental integration. [Also], the poorly developed network of regional infrastructure, especially in transport [and] energy…and the unsuitable array of legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks…cannot be ignored (p. 1).
Regional integration has been viewed by a number of scholars as a means by which Africa can develop foreign direct investment and staunch the flow of migrant workers from its borders to Europe and the Arab countries (Agbetsiafa, 2010; Aminian et al., 2008; Aning, 2007; Castles, 2009; Cockburn & Njikam, 2011; Cyrille, 2010; Danso, 1995; Gibb, 2009; Hammouda, Karingi, Njuguna, & Jallab, 2009; Mkwezalamba & Chinyama, 2007; Ondoa & Tabi, 2011; Ott & Patino, 2009; Teague, 2003; Thomas, 2011; Tsangarides, Ewenczyk, Hulej & Qureshi, 2009; Yang & Gupta, 2007). However, integration needs to happen at the human level before it can happen at the economic one, and according to most of the literature reviewed, competition for scarce resources and the dire poverty faced by most of the continent’s citizens conspire to make trade agreements difficult to implement. Interestingly, the solution to the problem of Africa’s poverty and stalled development demands a concerted effort on the part not only of governments but of individual Africans to invest both economically and psychologically in the future of their home.
The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)
The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa or CEMAC was created in March, 1994 (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa). CEMAC stands for the “Communauté Economique et Monétaire d’Afrique Centrale” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, par. 2). The organization was originally called the Union Douanière et Economique de l’Afrique Centrale, or UDEAC, and functioned as a “a customs and monetary union among the former French Central African countries…Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Congo ( Brazzaville), Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, par. 3; Nkendah, 2010). CEMAC is one of Africa’s most vital regional organizations, in addition to the Western CFA Zone (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3).
CEMAC was created by the countries “Cameroon, CAR, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon…to take over the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa…with the main aim of promoting economic integration among the six countries that share a common currency, the CFA franc, pegged to the euro” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3; News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012). CEMAC’s main objectives also include “the promotion of trade, the institution of a genuine common market and greater solidarity among peoples” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3; News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012). In 1994, CEMAC introduced “quota restrictions and reductions in the range and amount of tariffs” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3; News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012). At the present time, the CEMAC countries “share a common financial, regulatory, and legal structure, and maintain a common external tariff on imports from non-CEMAC countries” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3; News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012). Thus, theoretically speaking, “tariffs have been eliminated on trade within CEMAC, but full implementation of this has been delayed. Movement of capital within CEMAC is free” (Central Africa: CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, 2012, par. 3; News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012).
Recent Developments in CEMAC
When looking at the CEMAC member states, what you have to understand is that policy environment within the region is rife with the controlling influences of high oil prices, oil output and the overall appreciation of the CFA against the dollar. It is quite interesting to note that combined with increased foreign exchange reserves, an economic growth rate that has increased by 8 percent and the fact that inflation has been controlled by the various governments, this bodes well for the economic future of CEMAC. It is rather unfortunate to note though that such economic developments actually resulted in significant monetary and fiscal policies for the Central African states involved in the sudden regional growth. These problems appeared in conjunction with changes in oil related inflows as well as the need to implement common policies (similar to the case of the E.U.) regarding the economic performance of individual CEMAC member states. What you have to understand is that ever since the CEMAC treaty was created the Central African states involved have been moving towards an integration policy involving economic and monetary integration. Within the region it has been noted that there have been significant improvements in macroeconomic convergence which has resulted in a greater adherence to established policies in a way that is similar to the E.U. The reserves of the BEAC have increased which has been coupled with a strengthened fiscal and external balance within the government within the past two years. Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the fact that the economies of the CEMAC member states grew by at three percent in 2000, 5.4% in 2001, 4.5% in 2002 and five percent in 2003 reflecting favorable world oil prices and an improved management of public resources. Not only that, there has been significant progress within other fronts in the Central African region. One interesting factor that should be taken into consideration is the adoption of a regulatory framework within the region that specifically targets micro-finance institutions. It must also be noted that bank restructuring has been proceeding rather quickly within CEMAC with the cooperation of various financial institutions helping to improve the subsequent financial rations throughout the region. One particularly interesting piece of news is the fact that the E.U. is currently helping the CEMAC member states in establishing a regional road network that should help to connect the far flung capitals of states within the region. Before proceeding it must be noted that the customs union established within CEMAC is far from functioning effectively. Overall, trade within the regional is poor with imports and exports comprising 2 to 1 percent respectively of intraregional trade within CEMAC. It is rather unfortunate but administrative corruption still continues to plague this region resulting in a distinct hindering of the travel of people and goods across borders. It can be seen that intra-regional trade is still below the 10% margin needed, despite the fact that the Central African states are compared to their western counterparts. What you have to understand is that despite the fact that regional integration results in a far easier method of shipping people and goods across borders, there is still a distinct level of corruption among local authorities which impedes the ease of travel of people and goods. It is due to this that regional integration is at times not viewed as a sufficiently capable method of integration into the current global trading market at the present time. One factor that should be taken into consideration is the volatility of oil prices and how this can affect various states within Africa that are dependent on their regional oil industries. You have to understand that as the price of oil goes down within the global economy, the overall competitiveness of CEMAC member states that are dependent on oil will also go down which would result in a worsening state of external and fiscal balances for countries within the region. As such, there is a definite need to employ some form of restraint involving governmental spending with various methods of monitoring oil reserves being implemented. This has been done in order to establish within a few years some measure of sufficient fiscal discipline and macroeconomic convergence for the various countries within the region. It is quite interesting to note that despite the fact that oil production within Chad and Equatorial Guinea will actually increase within the immediate future (i.e. in 2 years time), the fact remains that other countries within the region such as the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Gabon may in fact experience a reduction in their oil sectors which would definitely result in an adverse effect on their local economies. Experts generally agree that regional integration must be improved within the region especially when it comes to the creation of common external tariff rates, the development of a sufficiently capable regional stock exchange and lastly, policies regarding methods of taxation in between states. When examining this particular case from a societal perspective, it can be seen that the steady growth within the country has actually done very little in reducing the rampant poverty that can be seen within the Central African region. It can be seen that in the case of Congo up to 70 percent of the country’s total native population subsists on less than one dollar a day. Similarly, in the countries of Cameroon and Chad the same level of poverty can be seen with 46 percent and 64 percent respectively of their populations equally subsisting on the same amount seen in Congo. All in all, it is quite interesting to note that when examining the population of CEMAC it can be seen that the population suffers from severe hunger and malnutrition despite being situated in a location that has one of the richest resources on Earth.
Recent CEMAC Developments
The record participation of Heads of States at the Yaoundé summit, as could be seen in the presence of five of the six Presidents of CEMAC member countries (only Chad was represented by the Prime Minister), the participation of the President of Sao Tome and Principe and the representative of the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo as observers, translated the collective resolve and determination of the Statesmen to move the sub region forward.
Such commitment was reflected in high soaring resolutions taken. Resolutions, which touched on, key issues of the community’s survival. And which, if properly implemented, would have far-reaching effects on the livelihood of the population of the sub region. Moreover, the specification of time limits within which most of the projects have to be implemented, translates the determination of the Heads of State to break away from rhetoric to concrete action.
After years of feet dragging, during which CEMAC seemed reneging on the attainment of its integration objectives, the Yaoundé summit can, therefore, be considered as a turning point. The desire to concretize most of the reforms that have been in gestation for sometime is evident. The summit has traced the way forward; the path to effective integration and development of the sub region. Be it with regards to the free circulation of people and goods, the appointment of officials to posts of responsibility in CEMAC structures, etc, the desire to move from intention to action is evident.
If the roadmap of the Heads of State is respected, the common passport for the sub region, (the CEMAC passport), will go into force by January 2010. This will be a giant step in ensuring the free movement of people in the sub region as the passport will be the only travel document required to move from one country of the sub region to another. In this light, the CEMAC Commission was instructed to organize workshops to acquaint the police forces of the new dispensation. The CEMAC parliament, on the other hand, is expected to go in force next year, while work will accelerate for the effective take off of Air CEMAC. The CEMAC Commission has been asked to work in collaboration with viable airlines to come out with concrete suggestions for a technical partner. In the meantime, a regional economic program has to ready by December for adoption by the Heads of State in an extraordinary CEMAC summit.
The desire to move forward was also demonstrated by the appointment of the different Commissioners of the CEMAC Commission who will have to deal with specific issues such as the common market, human rights, transport… This will, no doubt, instill dynamism into the Commission and accelerate work in the different domains. Besides, the award of honorific distinctions to some of those who have been working selflessly for the progress of CEMAC, will definitely spur others to emulate their example. The institution of a CEMAC Day, to be commemorated every March 16, is a plus in this direction. It will be an ideal occasion for member States to explain the community’s ideology to their people.
As such, it was stated by the commission that “in the days ahead, therefore, we expect a change. A detachment from the egoism and nationalistic tendencies that have kept the CEMAC sub region backwards. It is our common destiny that is at stake.” That is why the Heads of State who met in Yaoundé were preoccupied by the situation in Chad. While condemning the recurrent rebel attacks, the Heads of State resolved to assist Chad financial and materially. In effect, instability in one country of the sub region directly has a negative impact on the other nations. The same can be said of insecurity. Wherefore the resolve to join forces in the fight against crime.
The task ahead is enormous. The ball is now in the court of President Francois Bozize of the Republic of Central Africa who, yesterday, took over the command baton of CEMAC from President Paul Biya (Morikang, 2008).
The assertion that primary products contribute 85 per cent to the economy of the Central African sub-region was to be validated or invalidated at the Yaoundé Hilton. Economic experts from the Ministries in charge of the economy of various countries, representatives of international institutions, representatives of economic communities and representatives of the financial and private sector, will screen a study carried out to that effect under the supervision of the Economic Commission for Africa Sub-regional Office for Central Africa.
According to Mamadou Hachim Koumare , Director of the Central African ECA Office, the study was carried out on the basis of two observations: countries of Central Africa depend so much on the exportation of their primary products including traditional agricultural products, food products and hydrocarbon and this dependency is strongest compared to other sub-regions in Africa; secondly, existing analytical work shows that dependency on basic products retards economic growth especially where the institutional framework of the country is weak.
Conducted in 2007 by a team of experts from the ECA Central African Office and other economic actors in the sub-region, the study was expected to act as an important guide for policy formulation in the various countries of the sub-region.
Ahead of the validation of the study, authorities of the ECA Central African Office have been attempting explanations on the importance of primary products to CEMAC and regretting that this has so far been thwarted by a number of things. These include: the lack of good road infrastructure, which renders things difficult for the population to take their products to the market and low level of local processing. According to one of the experts, the sub-region benefits only five to ten per cent of the added value as a result of exporting primary products to be processed abroad (Nyuylime, 2008)
Transportation and International Trade
Representatives from CEMAC member states with backgrounds in road transport and international trade from within the Central African Sub-region CEMAC group met to brainstorm ways to augment boosting the transportation and transit of goods as well as surmounting challenges that have held down inter-State trade (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012). The International Road Transport Union, a world road transport body that “promotes the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators to ensure economic growth and prosperity through the sustainable mobility of people and goods by road, the workshop participants are sharing experiences on best practices to boost inter-State trade and by extension the economies of the respective” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par. 4). Topics of interest to CEMAC member in particular include “benefits of effectively implementing United Nations and multilateral conventions on road transport and trade Strategies of developing trade in Africa” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par. 4). Cameroon’s Minister of Transport, Robert Nkili, oversaw the opening ceremony and gave voice to the problems in infrastructure that the country faces where international trade and transportation are concerned (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par. 4). According to Robert Nkili:
Safety in road transport, its sustainability as well as vibrant trade are indispensable both for sub-regional integration and the emergence of its economies. Given Cameroon’s central position in the sub-region, [the] government has been unwavering in modernizing the corridor for hitch-free transit of goods and persons and exchanges between citizens, although some difficulties persist (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par. 5).
For CEMAC member states, “adopting a unique international control license, training road users on best practices so as to limit endemic corruption on the roads as well as limiting check-points in which transit vehicles…are needed” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). In addition, the Deputy Secretary General of International Road Transport Union, Umberto de Pretto, understands that the “problem to road transport and trade within CEMAC is human” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). Poor infrastructure and corruption are the leading obstacles (Bainkong, 2012). According to Umberto de Pretto:
Trade and roads are inseparable. You need sufficient roads to enhance trade. If your economy takes off, you have money for more roads. We can bring training to make your managers professional so that business that drives the economy can boom,” Umberto de Pretto added. The workshop ends today (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6).
Alleged Corruption within CEMAC
A few weeks prior to a meeting of the six countered of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, CAR President Francois Bozize expelled the top CEMAC official, Antoine Ntsimi from his CEMAC role, and debarred the official from the CEMAC headquarters in Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). Francois Bozize was tight lipped about the reasons for the expulsion, and told news agencies “we believe his expulsion from CAR was just the result of a misunderstanding and he will soon be back in Bangui to resume his duties to prepare for the next CEMAC summit scheduled for May this year in Brazzaville” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). However, corruption rumors are rampant (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). According to sources within CEMAC, Antoine Ntsimi “withdraws large sums of money from the CEMAC account with the Bank of Central African States…in Yaounde, whose sums are then transferred to an account of one of Ntsimi’s sons in France” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). These rather excessive sums of money are then “withdrawn to hire planes for his frequent journeys abroad and thus considered to be too extravagant, costing the community, one of the poorest and most backward on the African continent, hundreds of millions of CFA francs every month” (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). Therefore, the CAR President Francois Bozize and the CAR authorities in Bangui are displeased with the management of CEMAC and want Antoine Ntsimi replaced with a more prudent official (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6). The incident casts light on the corruption problems that plague CEMAC and other African organizations and support the analysis that many of the problems associated with the implementation of regional integration are human (News analysis: CEMAC head expelled ahead of summit, 2012, par 6).
One of the most significant challenges that regional integration faces in Africa lies in the continued competitive nature of the relationship between member countries. Efforts to excise both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade have consistently faced obstacles to implementation (Economic Commission for Africa, 2008; Economic Commission for Africa, 2010). In the area of non-tariff barriers in particular, several problems have arisen. According to the Economic Commission for Africa (2008), “customs officials, police roadblocks and constant harassment by immigration officials hamper free trade” (p. 32).
Protectionism is a major cause of these impediments to implementation, and its prevalence among member states represents an ongoing concern for the regional integration process (Economic Commission for Africa, 2008; Economic Commission for Africa, 2010). Several countries within the regional integration process continue to fear that the process will rob their citizens of employment and decimate its domestic industries (Economic Commission for Africa, 2008). In Nigeria, for example, continued “efforts to protect domestic infant and/or strategic sectors and industries by imposing blanket restrictions on the importation of certain goods adversely affected” the course of trade among the West African member states (Economic Commission for Africa, 2008, p. 32). Lip service for trade liberalization continues; however, the actions of many member countries belie a commitment to trade openness (Economic Commission for Africa, 2008).
Typically, the member countries that resist trade liberalization are among the poorer countries in Africa (Economic Commission for Africa, 2010). Many of these countries consider liberal trade programs impossible to pursue in their specific case. According to the Economic Commission for Africa (2010), the liberalization of trade “may be discouraging countries from pursuing such reforms for fear of potentially negative effects on their economy and on the poor” (p. 45). Short term costs associated with trade liberalization in many cases are immediately off-set as the economy of the country grows and more workers find more jobs. However, in developing countries, the short term costs themselves may be viewed as too high (Economic Commission for Africa, 2010).
From the global perspective, the continent of Africa typically occupies the role of producer and exporter of primary commodities that it then exchanges for manufactured goods (Economic Commission for Africa, 2010). In the global trade arena however, “the relative prices of primary goods have been declining at an average rate of between 0.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent per annum over the past century” (p. 62). Therefore, Africa’s place in global trade has been steadily dropping (Economic Commission for Africa, 2010). As Danso (1995) notes, “the purchasing power of Africa’s exports [fell] by 24 percent since 1985” (p. 36).
In the 1980s, other third world Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay facing similar situations underwent significant transformation in their trade policies with the goal of improving their economic futures (Aminian, Fung, & Ng, 2008). “The Latin American countries made revisions to the trade agreements of the previous period with the idea of renewing the process of regional integration in the sense of taking into account the need of Latin American economies to compete in the international market and to improve market access for their exports” (Aminian et al., 2008, p. 114). This change resulted in the softening of most of the Latin American trade procedures and to the implementation of “outward-oriented policies” (Aminian et al., 2008, p. 114). The Latin American economies also implemented economic stabilization programs and privatized a number of public companies (Aminian et al., 2008). Significant modernizing and liberalizing of the Africa trade model of this type are necessary to ensure that the continent’s citizens stand a fighting chance to achieve economic prosperity (Danso, 1995; Economic Commission for Africa, 2008; Economic Commission for Africa, 2010; Ott & Patino, 2009).
Critics of regional integration charge that the process itself has been tainted by “elitism in the form of regional integration occurring only at the level of leaders without permeating the consciousness of the people” (Aning, 2007, p. 1). The extreme poverty faced by the majority of Africans, critics argue, has not been factored into the plans for economic rejuvenation and recovery (Aning, 2007). In addition, these critics cite “armed conflict [as] the single most devastating challenge for the continent” (Aning, 2007, p. 1). Attention tends to be focused on the short-term goals of regional integration without attending to the very real security challenges that everyday people in Africa face on a daily basis. These include the “proliferation of small arms and light weapons…food insecurity, environmental degradation, the threat of unexploded ordinance, organized crime, and public health concerns” (Aning, 2007, p. 1). Until these issues are addressed, critics posit, regional integration will continue to occur sporadically in pockets across the continent – specifically, countries that enjoy less direct security threats – while others will stay mired in interminable armed conflict (Aning, 2007).
Regional integration also involves far more than trade liberalization. In Africa, several disparate religions hold sway, including Catholicism and Islam, and members of these two faiths number in the millions. As Gürol (2003) notes, “there are reasons for nations to be alert about the consequences of such attempts that possibly incorporate conflicting issues not economic by all means” (p. 30). Regional integration by definition creates cultural and religious integration, and in the case of Africa, this may simply not be possible to achieve (Gürol, 2003). Concerns and norms pertaining to religion and organized sects that are strongly represented as part of one African country’s culture “could lead to disputes despite all secular policies and inoffensive manners” (Gürol, 2003, p. 31). Economic concerns have a tendency to bleed into cultural concerns, especially for the deeply religious. As Gürol (2003) notes:
Some religions/sects are more tolerant to sexual behavior outside marriage than others or divorce is accepted in some while not in others. Likewise, in the case of strong political and ideological tendencies towards a certain direction, a majority of people in one country could be the uncompromising advocates of one, not much willing to tolerate the followers of the other (p. 30).
This phenomenon, in turn, has the power to destabilize the economy and nullify any trade agreements that may have been achieved.
A recurring theme in the literature examined for this review is the security challenges that trade agreements face during their implementation phase in certain regions of Africa. Aning (2007) pointed to the regions of the Greater Horn of Africa, West Africa, and the Great Lakes Region as the areas most affected by security challenges to ongoing regional integration efforts. As of 2007, a number of violent unresolved conflicts were active “in a number of African countries, including The Sudan…Darfur and Southern Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Comoros, and the Central African Republic” (Mkwezalamba & Chinyama, 2007, p. 2).
The main security threats to trade agreement implementation faced by Africa include local economic sets of connections and underground trade networks that feed security challenges through the “exploitation and sale of natural resources…[including] diamonds, timber, cocoa, cotton, and coffee” (Aning, 2007, p. 2). Such commodities are then transported, sold and made possible by insufficient or non-existent regulatory frameworks within the country (Aning, 2007). Military networks within the affected region also heighten security concerns, particularly when they “supply weapons to combatants and the provision of training facilities to those who are willing to destabilize the region” (Aning, 2007, p. 2). Security is also hampered by complicity between political groups, smugglers, and families who operate illegal trade (Aning, 2007; Banque Africaine De Developpement Fonds Africain De Developpement, 2009). As Aning (2007) explains, “political and economic networks provide support mechanisms and facilitate economic predation, and…networks that comprise illicit smuggling activities and cross-border family ties…facilitate trade in valuable goods” (p. 2). Security challenges therefore contribute to the competitive nature of many of the CEMAC actor states, particularly when the trade is illegal (Aning, 2007).
The Case Study of Cameroon
Cockburn and Njikam (2011) conducted a study to investigate the impact of “Cameroon’s sweeping trade reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s on the growth of firm-level productivity in the manufacturing sector” and found that trade liberalization has a negative impact on growth in certain industries and stimulates productivity growth in other (p. 279). The study authors utilized a two-step model to analyze the effects. In the first phase, the study authors estimated the “production function…for the pooled sample of pre-and post-liberalization periods” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 279). Cockburn and Njikam (2011) also analyzed separate data that represented the “pre-liberalization period…1988-1995…and the post-liberalization period…1995-2002…using the LP approach” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 280). From this data, the researchers were able to derive firm productivity indexes (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011). In phase two of the study, the researchers employed the “fixed effects approach to test for the effects of trade liberalization on firm productivity growth rates” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 280). The productivity growth equation was initially estimated on the “pooled sample of pre-and post-reform periods” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 280). The study authors then used the firm productivity indices recovered from the inference of the production function using “pooled pre-and post-reform sample periods…then on each sub-period separately…using the firm productivity measures retrieved from the estimation of the production function on each sub-period sample separately” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 280). Others controls included “business environment, industry, firm characteristics [and] the early 1990s political instability in Cameroon” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 280). The results of the study demonstrated the following:
A substantial difference between the estimated OLS, fixed effects, and LP production function coefficients, implying a successful elimination of simultaneity and selection bias. Concerning the LP results, and for both estimations employing the pooled sample and each sub-period sample, materials inputs have the largest output elasticity (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 282).
According to Cockburn and Njikam (2011), the pre-liberalization period was not successful for the Cameroon manufacturing sector – measuring productivity growth – since productivity dropped (p. 282). Two sectors saw productivity decline, while three other manufacturing sectors demonstrated a rise in productivity (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 282). As a whole, the manufacturing sector in Cameroon saw productivity gains after trade liberalization; however, this was by no means uniform across sectors. As the study authors Cockburn and Njikam (2011) explain:
The assessment of the role of specific trade-related variables in influencing firm productivity growth rates reveals three robust findings. First, the exit of less productive firms is conducive to productivity improvement. Second, there are significant firm productivity gains from outward-orientation. Finally, increases in effective protection negatively affect productivity in the Cameroonian manufacturing sector, although this second impact is much smaller than that of increasing outward-orientation (p. 280).
This study’s results demonstrated “strong policy implications for efforts to increase manufacturing productivity in Cameroon” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283). Policies targeted toward decreasing the “effective protection of the manufacturing sector” appear to boost productivity growth, according to these findings (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283). In addition, measures to “foster outward-orientation of different industries are also conducive to an improvement in firm-level productivity growth rates” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283).
The researchers concluded that the results encourage Cameroon and other African nations to pursue a course of trade liberalization (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283). However, the study authors caution that “there remains considerable scope for refining and deepening the research agenda” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283). A number of studies have posited that “trade liberalization alone in poor economies is not sufficient to achieve the development goals because of the structure of these economies and the weaknesses in their infrastructure and institutions” (Cockburn and Njikam, 2011, p. 283). In addition, supply restrictions such as “poor infrastructure, poor institutions [and ] bad governance in the developing counties…and Sub-Saharan African countries…usually face matter in reaping the trade liberalization opportunities” (Cockburn, & Njikam, 2011, p. 279).
Ondoa and Tabi (2011) conducted a study to analyze the relationship between economic growth, inflation and money in circulation using a VAR model for the period 1960-2007 In Cameroon, the overall objective of the Structural Adjustment Program of the phases I and II was to establish internal and external equilibrium in view of realizing a durable and equitably distributed growth. Thus, the main objectives was (i) to reestablish an equilibrium to major macroeconomic components notably a mean growth rate of 5% to a low inflation rate of 2% per year and a stabilization of external accounts with a deficit of the current account lower than 2.5% of the GDP, (ii) to fight against poverty and (iii) to promote good governance (BAD, 2002; 2007). Although, the objective on inflation seems to be attained since there was a relatively better mastery of prices during the last decade with the rate of inflation around the neighborhood of 1.9% in spite of a peak of 5.1% in 2006. This peak was due to the evolution of the prices of food products as well as those of transport services due to consecutive increase in petroleum products (MINEP, 2009). Inflation was however estimated at 4.4% in 2009 against 5.3% in 2008. This relatively low inflation rate is as a result of the implementation of the Central Bank policy. Indeed, the objective of the monetary policy of the CEMAC zone is to stabilize the common money used within the zone. In the CEMAC zone and in an operational manner, money stability signify that (a)an external coverage rate of money greater than 20%; (b) low inflation which does not divert fundamentally from that of the Euro zone in order to maintain competition. Briefly, the Central Bank upholds clean and solid growth which does not consider important money disequilibrium (Mamalepot, 2004). In spite of the relatively low rate of inflation (less than 4% per year), the rate of economic growth is fragile in Cameroon. Indeed, during the period of the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy paper (DSRP), i.e. from the years 2003 to 2007, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Cameroonian economy had a mean real growth rate of 3.32%. This growth rate is below the growth rate observed for the years 2000 to 2002 during which Cameroon was not implementing any formal program for fighting poverty (MINEP, 2009). This study attempted to examine the effect of inflation and money growth on the rate of economic growth in Cameroon. To do this, the work was organized as follows: section two presents the literature; sections three and four develop respectively the methodology and the results of the study.
The objective of the article was to analyze the link between economic growth, inflation and money in circulation. A VAR model was constructed for data from Cameroon for the years 1960-2007 for the analysis. The results show that money in circulation causes growth and growth causes inflation. However, it was realized that an increase in money in circulation does not necessarily induce an increase in the general price level. Thus, it can be affirmed that monetary programming policy and most especially problems related to information asymmetry between banks and promoters of projects hinder the growth rate from reaching its optimal level in Cameroon (Ondoa and Tabi (2011, p. 45).
Cyrille (2010) conducted a study to “investigate on the effectiveness of the liquidity effect of monetary policy actions in the CEMAC region. As the conventional wisdom states, a cornerstone for the central bank to stimulate the economy is to lower interest rates by increasing the supply of narrow money. To circumvent some of the difficulties inherent to the verification of this assumption, they adopted a methodology advocated by Christiano and Eichenbaum(1991) which seems appropriate in the special case of the CEMAC countries. The results they obtained indicate that the conventional wisdom holds both on individual level and on a regional basis when the monetary aggregate measures the stance of monetary policy. Moreover, an unanticipated credit expansion causes the interest rate to decline in most of the CEMAC countries. However, both the liquidity effect and the loanable effect are offset most of the time by a price puzzle or an output puzzle. In some countries, there is also an evidence of a liquidity puzzle. On the other hand, identification assumptions based on the interest rate are unsuitable for an appropriate assessment of the liquidity effect in the region.
Climate change affects millions of people in Africa and has proven to be one of the main impetuses for consistent human migration across borders (African Development Bank, 2011; African Development Bank Group, 2011). The countries with the greatest climatic instability include Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi (African Development Bank, 2011; African Development Bank Group, 2011). Over the past few decades, an increase in climatic changeability has resulted in an increased occurrence of storms, flooding, and severe water shortages, all of which destroy the already weak infrastructure, make food shortages direr, and interfere or completely derail the development projects underway in the region (African Development Bank, 2011; African Development Bank Group, 2011). As agriculture moves into marginal lands, more trees have been cut down, which in turn has triggered problems within the water table (African Development Bank, 2011; African Development Bank Group, 2011).In addition, these climatic changes have a major impact on “loss of biodiversity, desertification, erratic rainfall, higher temperatures and water scarcity” (African Development Bank Group, 2011, p. 13; Cornelissen, 2009). Populations that live in these affected regions tend to be adversely affected and often migrate to different regions in the search for more secure agricultural infrastructure and therefore less direct threats to their livelihoods (African Development Bank, 2011; African Development Bank Group, 2011). As the African Development Bank Group (2011) notes, “marginal and low productivity lands tend to be occupied by the poorest farmers who typically rely exclusively on subsistence agriculture and may find too few alternatives to cope with the additional stress from climate change, generating very high social costs” (p. 13).
Estimates indicate that “20 million African men and women are migrants outside their native countries” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2). Furthermore, analysts note that by the year 2015, “one in ten Africans may be living and working outside their countries of origin” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2). A large number of African citizens have left the continent and migrated elsewhere looking for work; a number land in Western Europe, while others end up in North America and the Middle East (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2), The migration of African citizens to other countries creates brain drain, especially in the professional sectors such as “teaching and medical sectors” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2). In addition, the flood of citizens leaving the continent creates “significant detrimental impact on development in Africa, [as] the region’s own labour markets are disorganized” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2). Migration is a major problem for many countries in Africa. It places “migrant workers in difficult circumstances and denies African countries proper control over their human resources” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 2).
In addition, the vast majority of migrant workers remain in low wage industries in their host countries such as “agriculture and domestic service, where they have little or no access to job benefits or quality education and training, healthcare and housing, for them and their families” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 3; Nkowani, 2009). Discrimination is a common problem for African migrant workers. According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (2004), inequitable treatment commonly experienced by migrant workers from Africa include the following:
Exploitation with serious pecuniary and other consequences; employers dishonoring mutually agreed contracts; prohibition from participation in trade unions; confiscation of passports, constraining their movement and any transactions; deduction of wages without consent; abusive, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions; non-payment or deferred payment of salary; denial of social security and health protection; and at worst, physical and psychological violence (p. 2).
Implementation and Enforcement of International Standards
International human rights protocols and International Labour Standards are designed to apply protective standards that all migrant workers can rely on (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 4). Some of these protocols include the United Nations Human Rights Conventions and the International Labour Organization’s Core Labour Standards (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 4). While these standards are typically ratified in the region in question, they remain “poorly implemented” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 4). According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (2004), the “rate of ratification in Africa of the specific international standards on migrant workers…is…unsatisfactory. Only 23
African countries have ratified at least one of these instruments” (p. 4). Standards of labor and labor protocols established by various Regional Economic Communities on the continent “call for freer circulation of labour and certain protections for migrant nationals of member States” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 4). However, these standards have not yet been properly implemented, “whether in AMU, CEMAC, COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS or SADC” (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 2004, p. 4)
Deacon, De Lombaerde, Macovei and Schröder (2011) conducted a study to investigate global labor developments in the context of migrant workers in African and to determine what steps were being taken to protect these workers in their host countries. This study reviewed several examples of improvements that had occurred at the “supra-national [level] of regional social and labour policies” (p. 334). The study authors set out to gauge to what extent migrant workers are being considered in labour laws that apply internationally, such as in the case of the International Labour Organization (Deacon et al., 2011). The study authors found that “existing regional associations of governments and regional organizations are actually developing effective regional labour policies in different sub-regions of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia” with the intention of protecting migrant workers in their host countries (p. 335). In particular, the study authors found that while “regional socio-economic policies are gaining importance in different world regions…speeds are varied and generally low [and] it is difficult…to find strong correlations with indicators of regional interdependence such as trade or migration” (p. 335).
In 2007, according to Deacon et al. (2011), the South African Development Community and the International Labour Organization signed an accord designed to provide the South African Development Community with a senior program manager whose “function it is to coordinate labour and employment programs within the SADC secretariat” (p. 335). This role, the study found, would be instrumental in helping the South African Development Community undertake the following key activities designed to address the problem of migration flows out of the country and migrant worker abuse in host countries:
Development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms/instruments of the SADC standards on employment and labour; setting up of a regional labour market information system; development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the implementation of the Declaration and Plan of Action for Promotion of Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa and of the SADC Policies, Priorities and Strategies on Employment and Labour; and capacity building to enhance gender mainstreaming in employment policies and promotion of women empowerment in the sub-region (p. 336).
According to Deacon et al. (2011), a task force comprised of the ministers of labour from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho that took place in March of 2008 directly addressed the issues of “social protection and employment and labour” for migrant laborers from these countries (p. 336). However, the study authors noted that in spite of this positive sign, “no dialogue is currently taking place between the SADC Department for Trade and Investment and the Labour Directorate” (p. 336).
The study raised some key issues about the lack of integration and communication that occurs between organizations charged with the regulatory function of labor across national and international borders. For example, the study authors noted the lack of cohesion between labor bodies:
The task force on regional economic integration does not meet with the task force on labour issues. Furthermore, the Trade meetings between SADC and the EU on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) do not involve the Labour Ministers (p. 336).
African Union Labor Affairs
In 2008, the African Union’s commissioner for labour and social affairs prepared a draft to be offered at the inaugural meeting of the Ministers of Social Development that took place in Namibia. As Deacon et al. (2011) noted:
The process leading to the draft to be tabled at the meeting was interesting because of the tension which arose between a wish on the part of the Commissioner to draft an African social policy as distinct from an ILO, UNICEF or an EU social policy on the one hand and the actual involvement of some of these Northern based players in the drafting process on the other (p. 336).
The report covering the period May 2008 through June 2009 of the African Union was noteworthy, Deacon et al. (2011) point out, because it set about “addressing the issues of employment and labour in the region. [However] although these achievements are worth mentioning, there are no clear specifications of the mechanisms under which these declarations are implemented” (p. 336).
The Southern African Trade Union Co-ordination Council, a trade union organization comprised of government, business, and trade union leaders and representative in the region, included a social charter to address issues of key relevance to migrant workers in the region. According to Deacon et al. (2011), this new charter addressed some pressing concerns for the migration flows of workers between countries, and set out methods by which to: “contribute to productive employment, facilitate labour mobility, and ensure regional cooperation in collection of labour market data” (p. 337). Labor data for migrant workers flowing between countries is especially sparse and difficult to come by, and as the researchers point out in this study, the labor bodies involved do not have the mandates to approve or enforce labor laws. As Deacon et al. (2011) explain:
Although SATUCC is considered as the strongest regional voice calling for regional cooperation, its capability to establish a tri-partite role in SADC is limited. This limitation is due to the fact that even if SADC is structured as a supra-national body, it does not have binding law-making powers and controlling judicial institution (p. 336).
Despite these limitations, as Deacon et al. (2011) note, a significant achievement of SATUCC is “the development of a Social Charter of Fundamental Rights of Workers in Southern Africa, which is ratified by nearly all SADC countries” (p. 336).
How these rights will be enforced remains to be seen. In East Africa, a regional organisation known as the East African Trade Union Council (EATUC) oversees labor issues including “the ratification of international labour standards by the member states and the harmonization of labour law” (Deacon et al., 2011, p.338). The East African Trade Union Council is one of many trade union organizations in the region most affected by migration flows and migrant worker issues. The Economic Community of West African States represents another trade union organization that “encourages the harmonization of labour laws and social security legislation” (Deacon et al., 2011, p.338). Member states include Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo (Deacon et al., 2011). As Deacon et al., (2011), one of the most important results of the meetings that have occurred between regional labor organizations is the flow of dialogue and the understanding that migrant labor problems affect all of these countries equally. The countries represented agreed to:
A comprehensive set of recommendations for an ECOWAS Labour Policy in line with ILO policy and based on consultations with ILO colleagues in Geneva. It also calls for a Regional Social Fund. It makes a strong case that the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA) draft labour law might be a possible model for parts of an ECOWAS labour policy (p. 336).
In 2005, the country of Ghana hosted the second annual meeting of between the Civil Society Organizations, the Economic Community of West African States, and the West African Civil Society Forum (Deacon et al., 2011). However, a number of problems arose (Deacon et al., 2011). While the West African Civil Society Forum was “designed to have the role of an advisory body and partner” of the West African Civil Society Forum, the main problems of migrant labor – those that pertained the employment issues and standards of labor, were not covered by the West African Civil Society Forum due to financial limitations (Deacon et al., 2011, p. 337).
Instead, the West African Civil Society Forum’s agenda, “as of 2006 onwards is restricted to…Democracy and Good Governance, and Peace and Security (Deacon et al., 2011, p. 337). The direct mandate for labor issues is no longer the organization’s purview (Deacon et al., 2011). The council of ministers that belong to CEMAC took on a set of regulations in 2006 that outlined the “creation, composition and functioning of the sub-regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Committee” (Deacon et al., 2011, p. 337). The main components of the CEMAC tripartite Committee include “the reinforcement of social dialogue within CEMAC, free movement of workers and fundamental principles and rights at work” (Deacon et al., 2011, p. 337). The agreement further specifies that “the main mission of the Committee is to contribute to the consolidation of the process of social negotiation with a view to preventing and managing social conflicts” (Deacon et al., 2011, p. 337). This CEMAC committee therefore, which is composed of the labor ministries of all of the CEMAC member states and meets once a year, has the power to implement real and last change for migrant workers in Africa and its citizens who travel beyond its borders looking for work.
The study author found in the course of conducting this literature review, the main discoveries that the scholarly literature revealed on this topic is the fortitude demonstrated by the CEMAC member nations in their commitment to the implementation of regional integration. Many problems and challenges persist, as does slow growth in the economy and in the rate of foreign direct investment, and many of these problems occur at the human level, as exemplified by corruption issues even at the highest levels of government. However, much has been accomplished, and while there is still intense competition between the member states for resources, there are also clear examples in which the member states have initiated partnerships designed to further the goal of economic improvement for Africa and its citizens.
Introduction to Methodology
This section aims to provide information on how the study will be conducted and the rationale behind employing the discussed methodologies and techniques towards augmenting the study’s validity. In addition to describing the research design, the theoretical framework, and the population and sample size that will be used in this study, this section will also elaborate on instrumentation and data collection techniques, validity and reliability, data analysis, and pertinent ethical issues that may emerge in the course of undertaking this study.
The aim of this study is to investigate the impacts of trade and border control in central African countries.
There are several objectives to this study:
- The first is the necessity to analyze the relations between the adoption of international trade agreements and intensity of trade in this region.
- The second is the need to determine the extent to which this partnership affects migration in this region.
- Lastly, this study will also need to discuss the implications of this policy for border control.
Overall, this study can have significant implications for policy-makers since its findings can tell whether the policies are effective and how they can be improved.
Role of the Researcher
The role of researcher in this particular study is primarily that of a recruiter and aggregator of data. This takes the form of the researcher being the primary point of contact when it comes to negotiating with the appropriate educational institutions, companies, government agencies etc. in order to obtain the necessary amount of subject data from the various individuals within the areas where recruitment and direct face to face interviews will occur. During each individual interview/ questionnaire distribution, the researcher will communicate with the research subjects through a hired interpreter in order to give an overview regarding what is expected of the respondent. Though it can be expected that there will be some problems involving the language barriers and subsequent translation of what the research subject meant when describing particular events and situations, it is expected that through communication and collaboration with the interpreter that some relevant means of effective data recording can be accomplished. This unfortunately brings up the issue of “interpretation bias” wherein what was stated by the research subject is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to what the researcher is attempting to prove via the study. In order to prevent accusations of unethical manipulation of all data interpretations will primarily be handled by the interpreter with the data only being corrected for grammatical consistency in order to be effectively understood. This ensures that the research data is consistent with proper academic ethics. It must also be noted that prior to the start of the data collection process via interviews the researcher will also need to play the role of a “teacher” so to speak in order to properly coach the interpreter regarding the purpose of the study and the various terminologies that will be utilized. This particular aspect of the data collection process is absolutely necessary due to the potential that the translated data may not properly conform to the appropriate levels expected of a doctorate level thesis. As such, by ensuring that the translator is properly informed this reduces the instances where problems may arise related to collected data that has very little relevant information that can be utilized within the study.
The present study will utilize a mixed quantitative/qualitative research design to explore the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration. This methodological approach will objectively answer the key research questions. Hopkins (2000) noted most quantitative research designs are concerned with determining the relationship between independent variables and dependent variables in a study framework. This study will thus rely on regression analysis in order to measure the relations between such independent variables as regional integration, particularly the adoption of free trade agreements, and dependent variables like the intensity of trade and migration in this region. Not only that, the econometric data of the last ten years of the CEMAC states will also be examined in order to create a more in depth analysis on the economic effects of regional integration. Furthermore, the researcher will also rely on such qualitative methods as interviews in order to see how regional integration affected the lives of urban populations in Central African countries. Finally, it will be necessary to do a literature review to examine the effects of regional integration on border control.
Sekaran (2006) observed most quantitative studies are either descriptive or experimental. The study will utilize a descriptive correlational approach because participants will be measured once. Furthermore, it is imperative to note that the study will employ a survey technique for the purpose of collecting participant data from the aforementioned areas indicated in the previous paragraph. According to Sekaran, a survey technique is used when the researcher is principally interested in descriptive, explanatory or exploratory appraisal, as is the case in this study. The justification for choosing a survey approach for this particular study is grounded on the fact that participants will have the ability to respond to the data collection tool by way of self-report, thus, this project will utilize a self-administered questionnaire schedule for purposes of data collection. An analysis of related literature will be used to compare the study findings with other research on the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration (i.e. an examination of the E.U. and A.S.E.A.N). Such analysis, according to Sekaran (2006), is important in identifying the actual constructs that determine efficient analysis because “it goes beyond mere description of variables in a situation to an understanding of the relationships among factors of interest” (p. 119).
As mentioned earlier, aside from econometric data, this study will utilize a set of questionnaires in order to examine the perspective of residents of CEMAC member states regarding the impact of regional integration on their daily lives. This can consist on how it affects their ability to seek employment in other Central African states, how it has enabled the distribution of goods and services, how it has impacted local entrepreneurship as well as other such factors related to the positive effects of regional integration. It is based on this that the research questionnaire will be geared towards members of urban populations and will focus on issues that primarily impact people who live within the various cities found in the Central African states that will be examined. While the researcher acknowledges the fact that rural populations are also similarly impacted by regional integration, the fact remains that considering the sheer size of the Central African states and the inherent difficulty and danger in contacting people found in such locations, it was decided that for the sake of safety and expediency that the researcher should focus primarily on urban population sets. Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the necessity to choose people who are more aware of regional integration and who take a more active part in this process. This can consist of scholars, traders, or those individuals who seek employment. Cluster sampling will be particularly helpful for the purpose of this study. This approach will enable the researcher to find the respondents quickly and above all safely.
The data gathering procedure for the interview will be held over a 3 week period spanning Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. In each state the researcher will spend approximately 3 to 4 days in order to gather the necessary research data. For the first day the researcher will orient the necessary translator within the state while the next two to three days will be spent arriving at the various organizations that were contacted beforehand in order to begin the data gather process. The process will be divided into two distinct types of interviews with one focusing on gaining an economic perspective referring to how business owners and traders have been affected by regional integration while the second type of interview will focus on the societal aspect of regional integration and how it affected people on an individual basis. This takes the form of inquiries regarding the ease of regional migration, whether people have found it easier to migrate from country to country as a direct result of an regionally integrated passport system as well as other factors related to human migration.
The research subjects for this particular study will consist of individuals recruited from various academic institutions, financial business districts as well as a variety of recruitment companies within the Central African states. Due to the language barrier that exists between the researcher and the study participants, the researcher will need to hire an interpreter to both help in the approach of potential research subjects and to translate the necessary documents in a way that can be legibly understood. Whenever possible the researcher will attempt to find research subjects who actually understand English in order to reduce the need and the inherent costs associated with hiring an interpreter. Furthermore, the individuals who will be utilized in the study must fulfill the following requirements in order to be considered viable enough to be included:
- Must have a high degree of literacy in order to understand the concepts that the questionnaire and interview entail.
- Must have a general awareness regarding the regarding the concept and impact of regional integration on their daily lives.
- Should be an urban resident of the capital city of a CEMAC member state.
- Should fulfill either one of the following requirements: an academic, a local law enforcement officer, an active job seeker, a tradesman, an entrepreneur or an individual that travels in between the CEMAC member states on a constant basis.
- The research subjects should also fall under the age demographic of 23 to 55 years of age in order to ensure that they have developed sufficient awareness and experience regarding the impact of regional integration in their daily lives.
- Lastly, the research subjects that are included in this examination should not be migrant workers from African states that are not part of CEMAC. This ensures that all responses are based entirely off of local residents which ensures that the responses given are only applicable to the Central African states that are being examined.
While it may be true that the level of research subject discrimination implemented by the researcher is indicative of a certain degree of undue manipulation of the study results, what must be understood is that due to the low level literacy and a system of education that is far from ideal, this has, as a result, created a population set that has very little knowledge or even awareness regarding regional integration, economic initiatives and a variety of similar topics which would be relevant to the study. Since it is the intention of the researcher to analyze the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration it would of course be necessary for the research subjects involved to actually have a certain degree of knowledge regarding this so as to produce a relevant contribution to the research material. Thus, the level of research subject discrimination is justified in this particular case.
While the recruitment method and type of participants that will be utilized has already been explained, this section will detail the population set from which they will be obtained from. On average the population of the Central African states that are a part of this study can be considered as significantly lack in both educational capacity and monetary resources. This is in part due to the minimal “trickle-down effect” wherein a large percentage (80 to 90 percent) of the region’s wealth is isolated to select few groups within their respective societies. Not only that, public utilities expenditures as well as budget allocations for educational programs are among the lowest in the world. These combined factors result in the creation of a population set that is not only unaware that they are in effect being denied their rightful share of their country’s resources but as a result the current situation has actually propagated widespread malnutrition due to a distinct lack of proper food and medical assistance. What this means for the research process is that it entails a more selective recruitment of individuals that are more in tune with the various aspects related to the concept of regional integration. What must be understood is that various studies which have examined the population of the Central African states have shown that on a local level few individuals are even aware of the concept of regional integration let alone understand the impact that a regional institution such as CEMAC has on their lives. This in effect justifies the criteria the outlined by the researcher regarding research subject selection since it is imperative that the responses must come from individuals that are directly involved and experience the effects of regional integration.
Justification for Utilizing Questionnaires
It was determined by the researcher that utilizing a combination of questionnaires and interviews was the most appropriate method to obtain firsthand accounts of the impact of regional integration at the present and should prove to be invaluable since the data collected is from the direct perspective of entrepreneurs, academics and employees of the various sectors of CEMAC member states which would complement the data already presented within the literature review section.
This methodology exposes the participants to an assortment of risks that need to be taken into consideration during the research process. The main risk the participants will encounter is if any of their answers that criticize or indicate dissatisfaction with regional integration leaks. This may have consequences on the attitude and opinion of government institutions and officials towards them and can result in victimization. To eliminate this risk, the responses will be kept in an anonymous location. This way, the only way to access the information will be through a procedure that involves the researcher. The project thus observes research ethics in sampling as well as during data collection process.
Deciding on the Questions to be used in the Interviews
The questions for the interviews were based on an evaluation of the research questions and the data and arguments presented in the literature review section. The aim of the researcher was to develop the questions in such a way that they build up on the material utilized in the literature review. Thus, the questions place a heavy emphasis on confirming the data in the literature review, reveal the current state of the SME sector from the perspective of entrepreneurs and members of the local financial sector and determining what factors influence the financing of business startups.
As explained earlier, the methodology that will be utilized within this particular study will be comprised of an evaluation of questionnaire results given to a variety of entrepreneurs, local merchants, job seekers, police officials etc. within the CEMAC member states in order to determine the various nuances they experience on a daily basis when it comes to regional integration.
The following questions were created based on an assessment of the research question, the data that the researcher would need and how pertinent they would be in terms of the participants actually being able to answer them. Also, the research questions will be divided into different sets based on the type of respondent that the researcher was able to get in contact with. This results in the creation of a questionnaire for entrepreneurs, business men and others involved in local finance while the other set of questionnaires will encompass questions for job seekers, academics, police men and those who frequently travel in between the CEMAC member states.
The questionnaire shown below may differ from the one utilized during the research process due to the necessity of having the local interpreter translate the questionnaire in such a way that it can be understood by the local populace. The subject and context of the research questions utilized will remain the same with a few alterations based on the discretion of the translator.
The first set of questions that will be given to the research subjects encompassing entrepreneurs and business owners will be comprised of the following:
- Within the past 10 years how has regional integration impacted your business? Has it helped in some way or has trade been the same?
- When it comes to importing or exporting certain products, has regional integration made it easier or harder to trade certain goods?
- Have there been any significant improvements that you have observed which has resulted in better business conditions for you?
- Has the flow of capital within the region been easier or harder as a direct result of regional integration?
- What percentage of your current workers are natives of your country?
- Has regional integration made it easier or harder for you to acquire adequate workers?
- Have things remained the same every since the establishment of CEMAC during the early 1990s or has there been a significant degree of progress in trade over the past few years?
- Do you generally agree with the concept of regional integration? Please elaborate on your answer.
- When it comes to exports, have you noticed any changes as of late as a direct result of regional integration?
- What would you like to see improved when it comes to regional integration? Please elaborate on specific actions, factors, policies, developments etc. which in your opinion would facilitate better trade.
These second sets of questions are meant for individuals looking for jobs, are part of the police force or travel in between the CEMAC member states.
- As a result of regional integration, has travel in between the borders of the CEMAC member states been easier?
- Have you noticed any significant increases in trade related travel?
- Is it easier for people looking for jobs to travel in between the member states?
- Has there been an increase in human migration as a direct result of regional integration?
- Has regional integration resulted in an even distribution of job opportunities for all the CEMAC member states or does one state present itself as having more opportunities than the other?
- As an employee/ job seeker, have you encountered increasing amounts of job opportunities within your home state or do you believe that other states have higher rates of job creation?
- What problems have you encountered when it comes to travelling in between the CEMAC member countries?
- Based on your own personal experience, has regional integration actually resulted in better trade and human migration or is it the same as 10 years ago?
Data Collection Process
Anderson (2004) notes that research that is performed in a rigorous manner can lead to more effective practices than decisions based mainly on intuition, personal preferences, or common sense. It is based on this that the researcher will utilize the views garnered through the interviews that will be conducted along with econometric data in order to develop a sufficient platform from which effective and above all accurate conclusions can be developed. The data collection process will actually be quite straightforward; several weeks prior to leaving for the Central African region the researcher will utilize the internet in order to find businesses, schools, government institutions and a variety of other appropriate establishments that appear to be effective locations where the appropriate type of data can be located. Enlisting the services of a language school (or Google Translate if a language school does not have the appropriate type of services) the researcher will compose an introduction letter in both English and the local dialect of the selected region in order to inform the organization of the intent of the researcher and whether it would be possible to conduct a series of interviews based on the attached questionnaire in order to examine the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration of the CEMAC member states. By asking permission prior to the data collection procedure this ensures that the researcher will not waste time in having to contact the necessary organizations upon arriving and can immediately proceed in collecting the needed data. Prior to arriving the researcher will also conduct a search for a local translator to help in the overall process of communicating with the research subjects upon arrival. The interviews will be conducted individually to ensure its alignment with the aforementioned anonymity of the study results. It will also be necessary to assure the participants of the safe storage of information before the interview begins to encourage them to give genuine answers. It was determined by the researcher that responses will be more favorable if the interview is conducted privately. This approach will mitigate accommodation costs thus making the project more cost effective. After collecting and analyzing data, the final report, together with recommendations will be presented to the study participants via email in order to show the impact of their opinions and ensure that responses were utilized in such a way that it complies with views that the participants intended to give out and are completely anonymous thus preventing any possible victimization from occurring.
Alternative Procedure based on Potential Data Gathering Problems
In the event that the researcher will be unable to venture into specific CEMAC states due to a variety of potential problems (i.e. internal conflict within the country, availability of the necessary funding, travel restrictions etc.) this alternative data gathering procedure should enable the researcher to continue to gather the necessary data despite the potential problems that may arise. The procedure will include one interview with each individual. Collecting qualitative data by interviews from participants who are geographically spread out can present a challenge to the researcher (Sedgwick & Spiers, 2009). Since the researcher will contact a variety of businesses and institutions beforehand it is possible to arrange an interview via alternative means. Communication technology such as videoconferencing can provide a solution. Zaltzman and Leichliter (2012) discussed the concept of new qualitative research. As communication channels evolve with new technology, researcher experiment with new qualitative options. Zaltzman and Leichliter presented two categories of qualitative options: real-time (synchronous or live) and not real-time (asynchronous). Video conferencing will fall into the real-time or live option with a one-on-one interview between the researcher and the participant. However, the researcher must be aware of the pros and cons of using these technologically new methods. Challenges of video teleconferencing include the fact that the participant may not be comfortable appearing on a live video (Zaltzman & Leichliter, 2012), confidentiality issues, trust of the researcher, possible accessibility issues, and security of the technology (Matthews & Cramer, 2008). The strength of video sessions includes increasing the researchers’ ability to access hard-to-reach populations and a greater comfort level for the participant interacting in their own space (Zaltzman & Leichliter, 2012). There is also a benefit to the researcher in terms of decreased cost (Sedgwick & Spiers, 2009). Conducting the interview by video teleconference will decrease the cost of data collection, while at the same time provide the interviewee with the opportunity to participate in the comfort of his or her own office. In relation to the research participants, this method may provide a comfortable and relaxed environment that may give them a feeling of control and possibly encourage a free expression of knowledge and attitude regarding the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration. If any program manager is uncomfortable with this method, other data collection accommodations will be made, such as travelling to meet with that individual personally. With the permission of the participants, the interviews will be digitally recorded.
Evaluating the Questionnaire Responses
Two methods may be used to score the test, raw score and relative. Both will be used for comparison in the study. The raw score method is a simple sum of the responses within each scale. This involves merely examining which responses seem similar to each other or which are widely divergent. The relative scoring method compares scales for relative contribution to the overall score. The relative proportion for each scale is found by dividing the individual mean score for the scale by the combined means for all scales. What must be understood is that unlike other types of questionnaires administered through similar studies, this questionnaire does not utilize a score or point system wherein responses are limited to a set amount (i.e. picking from a set of 4,5,6 etc.). The reason behind this is quite simple; the researcher is attempting to gauge the individual accounts of the research subjects in the form of data which involves their own personal accounts and experiences regarding regional integration. For example, in question 3:
“Have there been any significant improvements that you have observed which has resulted in better business conditions for you”
This particular question is an example of an important examination of changing business conditions within the Central African region as a direct result of regional integration. As such, the resulting answer cannot be quantified in the same way as other forms of information. Do note though that the researcher did take into consideration the use of a generalized research questionnaire form, however, based on the necessity of personal responses it was deemed a method that would divulge the type of data needed given the necessity of examining individual experiences at the local level.
Thematic analysis will also be used to identfy themes. Patton (2002) describes this type of analysis as inductive analysis and states that most qualitative analysis is inductive in the early phases, when the researcher is trying to identify categories, patterns, and themes. As such, it is expected that by utilizing the process of reading and re-reading the data, emerging themes within the collected data sets can be identified. Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006) point out that thematic analysis can help the researcher to demonstrate rigor. Having other individuals review the transcripts will enable different individuals to form themes from the data (Golafshani, 2003). When the reviewers have completed their reviews of all the interview data, they will come together as a group, present and discuss their identified categories and themes derived from the data, and identify the main common themes. This researcher will then review these main themes and use this information to assist in establishing the key findings of the study.
This method of data analysis is appropriate for a qualitative design studies. Patton (2002) discusses several competencies involved in thematic analysis. One such competency is pattern recognition, the ability to see patterns in a wide array of information. Content analysis involves searching the data for common words or themes. Both of these competencies will be used by this researcher to identify common themes. With such an analysis, the findings will be obtained in an unbiased manner.
Data Analysis –SPSS
The data analysis program known as SPSS for Windows will be used for purposes of analyzing the quantitative data. The basic initial steps will include data coding, entry, cleaning, analyses, and interpretation. Univariate analyses aimed at generating frequency distributions and descriptive analyses will be used to compare the economic growth of the CEMAC member states, the rate of human migration as well as increases or decreases in the amount of trade occurring between the various countries involved in this study. The data resulting from the frequency distributions will be further harnessed and presented using pie-charts, tables, and bar-graphs in order to more succinctly present the needed data for this study. The data from the study will also be analyzed using t-test and MANOVA in order to determine any correlations between the trade and human migration over the past 10 years. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis will also be conducted with economic conditions acting as the moderator.
Reliability and Validity
Shank (2006) explains that the researcher must present the findings of qualitative research in written form. The identified themes will be presented along with implications. Because the researcher will be using the interview process to obtain the information, the data reporting will include narratives of responses expressed by the individuals on their attitude about the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration. The method of storytelling may also be used as an effective way to present a scenario offered by one or more of the interviewees.
Handley (2005) noted reliability in any research process implies that the same set of data would have been collected each time in repeat examinations of the same variable or phenomenon, otherwise referred to as consistency of measurement. To realize reliability of the study findings, the researcher will certify that items incorporated in the survey schedule will only capture data that are of interest to the broader objectives of the study. The range of measurement of the sets of the survey schedules will also be adjusted upwards to enhance internal consistency of the study findings. In addition, the researcher will utilize multiple indicators to ensure the collection of objective unabridged data.
Handley (2005) determined validity is a measurement that is used to describe a measure or instrument that correctly reflects the variable or phenomena it is intended to evaluate, thus reinforcing the conclusions, assumptions, and propositions made from the analysis of data. Internal validity, which denotes the soundness of a study or investigation, will be achieved through the establishment of a framework for the application of effective sampling techniques and employing a validated and reliable survey schedule for the propose of data collection. The same procedures in combination with the recruitment of a representative sample size will be used to achieve external validity, thus ensuring that the study findings can be generalized to other settings.
For this reason, the involvement of other professional colleagues to review the data, will contribute to the validity of the study. The researcher will determine the validity and integrity of the study with, according to Golafshani (2003), the appropriate attributes of trustworthiness, rigor, and quality. Trustworthiness is the degree to which the reader can trust the findings (Shank, 2006). Shank points out trust is not really established, but rather built and nurtured. This researcher will first try to cultivate trust in the study participants by conveying to them the research goal is simply to determine how they feel about regional integration and their views on it as well as its impact on their daily life. The researcher will emphasize to the participants, verbally and in the informed consent form, that there are no ulterior or personal motives with this research project. The researcher will present the findings in a way that the reader knows the study was conducted in a manner that produced trustworthy results.
The rigor of the study must be evident when the researcher presents the findings. A rigorous study is one that is designed, conducted, and analyzed properly (Shank, 2006). The researcher will demonstrate the study’s rigorous design by reporting in the method section that the study was developed with the expert guidance of University faculty, reviewed and approved by the IRB, and that the study was conducted by closely following that approved design. According to Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006), rigor may be demonstrated through the process of thematic analysis. A comprehensive process of data coding and identification of themes must be used. This researcher will select an appropriate template approach from the literature to assist with data analysis.
The quality of the study must be high in order to obtain true and valid data. Validity of qualitative research may be described as the use of quality concepts (Golafshani, 2003). The goal of the researcher will be to portray the high quality of this research study to the participants and the readers. Through the analysis methods, the researcher will demonstrate that the conclusions were obtained through unbiased methods. Constructivism enables the researcher to appreciate the fact that people have multiple realities in their mind (Golafshani (2003). The individuals who will be study participants will have multiple realities that will contribute to their attitude about regional integration. Golafshani states that the open-ended perspective of constructivism is consistent with engaging in multiple methods such as observation, interviews and recording. Implementing these methods into the study design will contribute to its validity. By conducting the interviews in person or via video teleconference should the need arise, the researcher can observe the reactions of the individual to the questions, conduct the interview process, and verbally record the responses. Transcription of the recorded interviews by an independent person will provide objectivity to what was said by the interviewee. A combined data review that includes the researcher and other professionals will show that the data were reviewed in an unbiased manner.
The researcher has a responsibility to present the data in such a way that the reader can make an informed judgment about the issue (Schram, 2006). Patton (2002) describes the concept of extrapolation in which the researcher speculates on how likely the findings would occur under other similar conditions. It is the goal of the researcher to identify themes about the attitudes of local residents of the Central African states on the topic of regional integration that may extrapolate to others; officials in the government for instance, who will be responsible for implementation of local and regional policies.
Possible ethical considerations that may arise through this study consist of the following:
- The potential for unintentional plagiarism through verbatim lifting of information, arguments and points of view from researched source material.
- The use of unsubstantiated information taken from unverifiable or nonacademic resources (ex: internet articles).
- The use of a biased viewpoint on issues which may inadvertently result in an alteration of the questionnaire results.
- Presentation of data without sufficient corroborating evidence or a lack of citation.
- Falsifying the results of the research for the benefit of the initial assumptions of the study.
- Using views and ideas without giving due credit to the original source.
According to Saunders et al. (2000), “Ethics refers to the appropriateness of your behavior in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work, or are affected by it” (p. 130). In addition to seeking approval from the doctoral thesis board, a letter of consent will be sent to the head of the program to request individual indulgence and approval in conducting the study. Mailings will be sent to the individual institutions, agencies, businesses etc. explaining the main objective of the study and requesting their consent for participation. Further communication will proceed between those who agree to take part in the survey and the researcher via email to ensure that all individuals understand the requirements for the study. The researcher will also take time to elaborate the rights of participants during the study process, including the right to informed consent and the right to confidentiality. By addressing these concerns through guidelines on proper ethics and research, it is expected that there will be few ethical concerns that will need to be addressed.
Definition of Terms
Regional integration refers to the economic practice wherein distinct states enter into a regional treaty or accord in order to develop regional cooperation amongst themselves. Typically, regional integration is achieved through a series of institutions and regulations drafted by and adhered to by all member states. Simply put, regional integration is a course of action by which an assemblage of countries frees up trade restrictions by negotiating free trade zones or customs unions.
CEMAC or The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa refers to an organization of states composed of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon whose express purpose is to promote regional economic integration under a shared common currency. The current objectives of the organization is the reduction of trade related barriers, the creation of a regional common market as well as promotion of a greater degree of solidarity among the different social groups within the CEMAC member states.
- Refers to the physical movement of individuals across state borders due either one of the following reasons:
- Economic Hardship
Within the context of the Central African states that are being examined within this study the primary reason for interregional migration is usually due to the sporadic famines that hit various regions within Central Africa as well as various aspects related to trade and economic hardship. It must be noted that travel in between the CEMAC member states is facilitated through the use of a regional passport system, however, there are still numerous issues regarding human migration in this regard that this paper will examine in subsequent sections.
A tariff is a tax on either imports or exports and is meant as a means of government income or a way in which cheap foreign imports of already locally made products do not overwhelm local markets. It is often argued (primarily by 1st world countries such as the U.K.) that tariffs are actually an impediment towards a stronger global economic system, however, it is argued by third world countries that tariffs are often necessary due to the economic advantage of 1st world states which in effect leaves them vulnerable to product dumping and an assortment of disastrous economic outcomes should specific tariffs meant to protect local industries be removed.
Under a free trade policy, the prices of specific goods and services emerge as a direct result of supply and demand within the common market. In this scenario a government does not implement methods of discrimination against imports (applying a tariff) or exports (by applying a subsidy) but rather allows the common market to in effect dictate the supply, demand and the prices of such goods and services. It must be noted though that while the concept of a free trade agreement is generally well accepted within various industrialized nations it is often thought as detrimental by developing and newly industrialized countries due to the obvious differences in competitive advantage. As such, this has led to considerable debates regarding the implementation of any form of free trade policy between countries of varying competitive levels and has created an international market where sporadic instances of free trade (as seen in the case of Singapore) occur which is overlaid by a layer of protectionism (seen in the case of the U.S.).
Impact of Regional Integration on Trade and Human Migration
You are cordially invited to participate in a research study involving the examination of the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration among citizens of the CEMAC member states. You were selected as a participant based on your knowledge involving changes in trade, ease of migration, employability as well as beneficial effects of regional integration on local economies within Central Africa. Prior to participating in this study, please read through this form in order to familiarize yourself with the responses expected of you. Should you have any questions or concerns please voice them out to the researcher at any time. This study is being conducted by (PLACE NAME HERE) who is a doctoral degree candidate.
The purpose of this study is to determine the full gamut of effects that have come about as a result of regional integration among members of the CEMAC member states. This involves an examination of the effects of the integration on a micro and macro scale. This entails an investigation of the economic impact of the integration on each member state while at the same time involves an examination on how such processes impact people on an individual basis. It is expected that this research study should provide an enlightening account regarding the positive and negative aspects of the processes that CEMAC has put into practice.
Should you agree to participate in this study; the following will be expected of you:
- Sign the consent form indicating that you are willing to participate in this study and that you are allowing the researcher to utilize the information you give as part of the data analysis.
- Give clear, concise and above all honest answers on the questionnaire as well as to the individual interviewing you.
- Fill out all the segments of the questionnaire
- Indicate your demographic data on questionnaire
- Be interviewed by the researcher after finishing the questionnaire and give honest responses
Assurance of Anonymity
All information that will be obtained via this method of data gathering will be kept strictly confidential with all research participants being assured of the anonymity of their responses. None of the responses will be released with any indication that they were given by a particular individual. The results will be quantified into basic statistics to ensure that no personally identifiable information can be identified. Information gathered from respondents of the survey will be destroyed after a period of 10 years to further ensure that no personal information will be leaked in any way.
Voluntary Nature of the Study
Your participation in this study is strictly voluntary. Your decision whether or not to participate will not affect your current or future relations with anyone involved in the study. You may withdraw from the study at any time without any penalty, even if you initially decide to participate.
Risk from Undertaking the Study
While there are no outright risks in participating in a study of this nature there are some long term risks that should be taken into consideration. There exists the possibility that participants in the study may face victimization or undue criticism due to the views they present which may or may not appeal to the “image” that various governments wish to portray themselves as. In order to prevent such problems from occurring all the data will be sealed within a locked cabinet and will not be presented without ensuring that all possible methods of identification have been removed beforehand.
Impact of Regional Integration on Trade and Human Migration
Contacts and Questions
The researcher conducting this study is (First Name Last Name). The researcher’s adviser is XXX XXXX, Ph.D. You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions later, you may contact us.
|Contact info for researcher:||Contact info for advisor:|
You will receive a copy of this form from the researcher.
Statement of Consent
I have read the above information. I have asked questions and received answers. I consent to participate in the study.
Printed Name of Participant: _________________________________________
Signature: _________________________________ Date: _____________
Signature of Investigator: _____________________ Date: _____________
Participant Pseudonym: ___________________________________________
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