Developmental State and Protection of Human Rights in Africa: A Comparative Study of Botswana and Ethiopia

Introduction

The concept of human rights has always been fluid – first initiated as a universal concept, it quickly gained a relativity narrative; started with mainly a civil and political concept but later on included second and third generation rights. Different political and economic ideologies, societies’ preference of implementation and cultural contexts have contributed to the large accumulation of concepts and legal regimes on human rights and ultimately to its dynamism.

This paper in a way is a continuation of the academic process to discuss how a certain ideology in the form of developmentalism defines human rights and tries to implement it within its economic and social ideology. By taking Ethiopia and Botswana as cases of references, the paper identifies mechanisms and performance of developmental states on the protection and realization of political and economic rights.

I. Developmental States

 

Developmental states with full focus, commitment and political will to produce faster economic development, manifest different attributes based on the particular experiences of states, comparative advantages they own and the kind of society implemented. The East Asian experience has shown that developmental ideologies can be implemented in a strictly autocratic governance. While some states instilled a fairly democratic concept to their developmental ideology.  A 2010 report by the Institute for Development and Peace at Duisburg-Essen University identified four main characters of developmental states: Development-oriented political leadership, autonomous and effective bureaucracy, production-oriented private sector and performance-oriented governance[1]. I will briefly elaborate these characters below as an introduction to the basic features of developmental states.

 

Development-oriented Political Leadership

 

Elites in developmental states are mostly bound together by a powerful economic and political ideology focused on development. Such a group of leadership might be born, as in the East Asian case, from conditions of vulnerability comprising three major elements, namely a broad coalitional commitment, scarce resource endowment and severe security threats[2]. On the other hand, such an elite group could also generate from a clear consensus within the governing elites, both administrative and political, over the scope and direction of development[3]. As a result of their high levels of acumen and sufficient economic credibility, these political elites are able to win the trust and cooperation of the bureaucrats as well the private sector[4].

Moreover political legitimacy of the elite group is drawn from their zeal and commitment for development. State‐directed development under the developmental state approach is not just about policy but, more importantly, it is about sustained political will to govern the market in accordance with development aspirations[5].

 

Autonomous and Effective Bureaucracy

The bureaucratic arrangement of a developmental state prioritizes meritocratic recruitment, provides promotion incentives, shows rationality and guarantees high levels of prestige and legitimacy to bureaucratic officials[6]. The experience in East Asia shows that an autonomous and effective bureaucracy is able to effectively formulate economic policy, forge business alliances and direct state interventions in the economy[7]. Most notable, the bureaucracy was not only able to protect itself from particularistic private sector interests but it was also strong enough to cooperate with the same in a productive manner[8]. The responsibilities assumed by the bureaucracy, as Amsden argues, “provide supporting evidence for the proposition that economic expansion depends on state intervention to create price distortions that direct economic activity toward greater investment”[9].

 

Production-Oriented Private Sector

 

The basis of the economic transformation and modernization for developmental state is their capacity to attract or build a private sector that is production oriented. The manufacturing sector was the basis of the economic transformation of East Asian countries. As observed by Amsden, state intervention in the East Asian developmental states marked a different type of capitalism, in which the primary purpose of intervention was to promote the interests of the business sector, create conditions for capital accumulation and productivity improvement[10]. In pursuit of this goal, the state utilizes a wide range of institutional instruments to poke and prod domestic firms to meet domestic and international business standards, productivity levels, and organizational and technical capacities[11].

The state was not only able to secure the survival and the ability of the private sector to compete at any level but, more crucially, was able to “create” and “reward” in addition to “picking” good performers as well as “punishing” bad ones[12]. In this way, the state was able to promote long‐term investments among the industrial elites that resulted in sustained industrial development in East Asian countries[13].

 

Performance-oriented Governance

 

Promoting an equitable and rapid economic growth is the main legitimacy source for developmental government. Its elites are constantly engaged in developmental polices that can lead to rapid economic growth. However such a growth is regularly checked to lead to employment and reduce poverty. In addition the growth is regulated not to result in unequitable gains among citizens and ultimately delegitimize the approach.

So long as rapid economic development is attained and structural change within the economy is realized, the legitimacy of the state is kept intact under a developmental thinking. The experience of East Asian countries and also those in Africa is exemplary here in which developmental states kept a strong grip in power for decades with continuous economic achievement.

II. Developmental States and Human       Rights

 

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 heralded an era of international obligation upon states to respect human rights. As a direct result of World War II, UDHR had much focus on civil and political rights by mainly ascertaining the power the citizenry should have on electing their governors and the inalienable rights of freedom and liberty.

Agreeing on the values to be deemed as human rights was not an easy process. The adoption of the UDHR passed through rigorous scrutiny from states. Saudi Arabia raised its reservation on the right to religion, the USSR on freedom of movement and so on. It was obvious that relativity was already encroaching upon the universality of UDHR. The global post-colonial period forced another conceptual flexibility to human rights by calling for the inclusion of economic development as an aspect of human rights. The fact that the current human rights legal regime is composed of numerous separate covenants and declarations by itself shows the ideological differences that exists.

States allegiances were also aligned to the specific political ideologies they belonged to and often adhered to the ideas of human rights relevant to them. The cold war period further fueled the east and west divide increasingly subsuming other nations into one ideology or the other. The Western conception of human rights based on a minimal involvement of the state mainly focused on civil and political rights. The Eastern conception, on the other hand, envisaged a strong state that prioritizes provision. Economic, social and cultural rights were given priority as opposed to civic and political rights.

The triumph of the west over the east from the east in the cold war cemented western values as the hegemony on the conception of human rights and democracy. However, the conceptual divide never got resolved once and for all.

East Asian countries took the lead in the 1960-80s by instilling a developmental ideology to their national concerns. By identifying poverty as their main challenge, these countries launched a rigorous state led developmental approach. The three decade process produced great results in terms of economic achievements. Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan were all part to this process that concentrated on developmental progress and structural transformation of economies. Their approach however made a hard choice between economic development and democracy. In the period, economic progress was led by strong autocratic governments that largely curtailed civil and political rights by anchoring a dominant developmental narrative.

African states in the 1960s were almost in the same economic circumstances as their East Asian counterparts – a post-colonial period with weak government structure, non-existent private sector and fractured society. Today, while East Asian countries enjoy a high income status, most African states still remain as low income countries grappling to find the route to development. What happened in those three decades was a major shift.

Similar to the East Asian countries, African states in the 1960s and 70s also embarked on state-led development endeavors; but the predatory nature of the state and statist developmentalism led to economic demise and a seemingly enduring poverty crisis[14]. These post‐colonial experiences, therefore, are today regarded as developmental failures. As a result of their economic demise many African countries in the 1980s faced a debt crisis and had to embark on Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) in order to access new credits from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank[15]. These programs involved a complete turnaround of economic policies from the statist approaches of the post‐colonial period to the market‐oriented reforms. The expected outcome, however, did not materialize. The SAP‐inspired decades in Africa are today frequently referred to as the “lost decades”, and the persistence of the poverty crisis has led international donors to refocus their aid programs on debt relief‐funded poverty reduction strategies[16].

In the 1990s and 2000 a new wave of developmental thinking started to gain momentum around the continent again. The conflict ridden continent was relatively stabilized and some states including Rwanda and Ethiopia made the decision to engage on a developmental endeavors that at least principally accepted democracy and human rights.

III. The Developmental State in Botswana and Ethiopia

The argument for a developmental state in Africa is linked both to the failure of neo liberalism and the success of the developmental ideology. Neo liberalism in the 1980s led to an utter economic failure by producing ineffective, corrupt, and indebted states. On the other hand, states like Botswana and Mauritius that implemented the developmental approach sice their independence saw commendable results in poverty reduction and economic growth.

Botswana at the time of independence had an almost inexistent state apparatus, a huge land and about 600,000 population. The government adopted an agriculture based developmental approach immediately in the post-independence period. By the time such an endeavor was launched, the per-capita income of Botswana was US$70 per year[17]. Later on, the country discovered minerals (in the form of diamonds) that hugely supported its developmental initiatives. Today the per-capita income of Botswana stands around US$7,000[18] which makes it an upper middle income status country.

A combination of different factors contributed to Botswana’s success as a developmental state. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)[19] was quick to identify that a strong leadership was required. Led by the chief SeretseKhama, the leadership, devised policies that invited an active state involvement in the economy. It also built an efficient bureaucracy initially made of expats until the country produced its own qualified nationals[20]. In addition the BDP promoted the involvement of the private sector and closely worked with De Beers, a South African based mining company, to mine the diamonds based on equitable shares.

There are two reasons that are peculiar to Botswana’s developmental approach. First, the country adopted the system since independence and was able to continue implementing it till date. Second, its developmental ideology includes a democratic element in it – uninterrupted periodic elections have been conducted since 1966 and other basic freedoms are also respected in the country.

Ethiopia on the other hand is a late adopters of the developmental approach. The country launched its developmental ideology in the 1990s. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF) triumphed a seventeen year civil year against a military regime that led the country between 1974 and 1987. Meles Zenawi was the most influential figure of EPDRF responsible for formulating the economic and security ideologies of the party. He led EPDRF for more than two decades before his sudden death in 2012.

In what is published online as Meles Zenawi’s MA dissertation titled African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings[21], the former prime minister sums up his take on the kind of developmental state he envisages. Even though the publication disclaims that the ideas are his personal views and do not manifest the policies of his government; it is evident that Ethiopia’s policies under EPDRF is highly influenced by Meles’ views. He argues in his paper that neo-liberalism is dead in Africa. Governments in the continent cannot act as night watchmen. Market failures forces states to actively engage in correcting them[22].

The government in Ethiopia is a highly active state that immerses itself in every major activity of the economy. In particular it engages highly in massive infrastructure development including roads, education, hydroelectric dams and etc. A landlocked country with over 100 million population, Ethiopia’s economy has benefited in the last decade from such a policy. Public investment resulted in a high level economic development in the last decade and made the country one of the fastest growing economies[23].

Ethiopia’s economic growth is led by the state with weak involvement of the private sector. Most of the local private sector in the country operates in rudimentary businesses without calculating gains from value addition. The business environment of the state are also discouraging both in terms of frustrating bureaucracy and inadequate provision of finance. With the unsatisfactory performance of local private sector, FDI seems to be the next adventure for the country. By building huge industrial parks, Ethiopia currently plans to attract more FDI[24].

As a developmental state, the government in Ethiopia solicits legitimacy from its developmental achievements. The last two elections in the country resulted in a landslide victory for the government[25]. With weak and fragmented opposition, limited political space and strict control on freedom of expression, the government was effectively able to push out all opposition parties from the parliament[26]. However, recent protests[27] in the country have called for a more open political space and respect for civil and political rights. The protests have shown that the government’s legitimacy no more relies solely on economic achievements but also on its democratic record.

Human Right protection: A comparative approach on Botswana and Ethiopia

In this section I will try to discuss the performance of Botswana and Ethiopia respectively with regards to their commitment to human rights. The assessment will take in to account the results the countries achieved in both economic and political rights.

Botswana

Botswana’s experience with the developmental ideology has lasted for more than half a century. What makes the country’s approach towards development different is its simultaneous focus on democracy and respect for human rights. Unlike the East Asian experience, which largely relied on autocratic governments, Botswana was relatively democratic and free. It has conducted 11 elections in the last 50 years. Although the BDP was able to win all the elections, the electoral process was free and fair. The latest report from Freedom House[28] gives Botswana a 72 grade out 100 and marked it as a partly free country[29].

Freedom of expression, association and the right to form political parties are protected under the constitution. In practice as well, the government seems to be equally attentive to the rights[30]. The space for the judiciary remains fairly intact and courts effectively implement checks and balances on the extensive powers of the president.

In terms of its economic performance BDP’s developmental policies have produced remarkable results. The country achieved a 0.698 score in the latest United Nations Human Development Index (HDI)[31] and is ranked 108th. Its scores makes it a middle achiever country with a continuous upward trajectory. The Gross National Per Capita is $14,663[32] by far greater than the sub-Saharan average which is about $3,836.

The country’s GDP has been steadily growing at about 5% per anuum for the last decade but a few challenges exist. First, the economy remains to be highly dependent of mineral export. In 2017, 40% of the country’s total revenues were collected from the extractives sector. Second, the economy struggles to substantially decrease poverty and inequality. Between 2013 and 2018, poverty in the country decreased from 13.2% to only 12.3%[33]. Unemployment also remains a challenge at 17.8% and income inequality is one of the highest in the world[34].

The general picture in Botswana is highly commendable. The government under a developmental ideology has shown that it is capable of protecting both the economic and political rights of its people. This is perhaps a lesson to the continent at large as it highlights that developmental ideologies do not necessarily need to be autocratic. However, the challenges Botswana faces require close attention. The political system cannot continue to rely on BDP’s dominance. A strong and organized opposition is needed if democracy and respect for human rights are to attain the level required. Moreover, the economy is calling for a structural change that focuses on manufacturing with less reliance on extractives.

Ethiopia

 

Ethiopia’s progress in the developmental approach is not as colorful as Botswana. The country only adopted such a political economy system a couple of decades ago. Whereas, it has made important progresses on the economic field, its performance on institutionalizing a proper democratic approach nevertheless is a dismal one. Freedom of expression, right to association and other fundamental political rights are highly restricted. Although the constitution of the country is a progressive one[35], implementation is lacking to a larger extent. The 2018 Freedom House Index marks the country as ‘not free’ both in internet and press[36]. The government is often accused for employing infamous legislations such as the anti-terrorism law[37] and civil societies and charities law[38] to restrict political engagement and participation[39].

Elections in the country have taken place since 1995, but high irregularities and contestations over results are reported[40]. Especially the violence in the 2005 post-election period led to the imprisonment and migration of key opposition personalities in the country. The 2010 and 2015 elections however saw a large electoral vote for the ruling party. With a disintegrated and weak opposition and lack of ample political space, the results were expected. In 2015 especially, the ruling party won all seats without a single opposition in parliament. The circumstances on the ground are however the reverse. Recent protests across the nation reflect a diminishing legitimacy of the government. The protests called for more equitable distribution of wealth, the release of opposition leaders and a fair representation of power at the center.

Ethiopia follows a federal system with parallel legislative, executive and judiciary powers at regional and federal levels. Nevertheless, separation of power is not strictly adhered to. A powerful executive that dominates the parliament and that constantly intrudes in to the independence of the judiciary which has limited the exercise of checks and balances.

The economy of the country on the other hand grew in an average of 10.5% between 2005 and 2015[41]. Led mainly by public expenditure and a booming service sector, the growth in the last decade was able to reduce poverty level in the country from 53% (2000) to 33% (2011)[42]. Since 2016, the country has overtaken Kenya as the biggest economy of the East Africa[43].

Despite its economic progress, Ethiopia remains to be one of the poorest countries in the world. The 2016 HDI gives the country a 0.448 score and ranks it 174th. GNI per captia is about $1,523; almost 14 times lesser than Botswana. Agriculture continues to be the backbone of the economy covering half of the country’s GDP; 83.9% of exports and 80% of employment[44].  With the aim to reduce its reliance on agriculture and transform the economy, the government adopted Grand Transformation Plans. To support this plan, huge public investments are made on different sectors including infrastructure, power generation and education. Moreover, industrial parks are built to enhance attractiveness to FDI.

The overall assessment of the developmental approach of Ethiopia is it lacks speed and liberalization. The government is increasingly scrutinized both from within and outside the country over its disregard to democracy and respect for civil and political rights. Recent protests in the country in particular are expected to force the government to rethink its approaches and open up the political space for the opposition and other voices.

The other main dynamics in the county is the huge youth population that is proving to be a force to reckon with.  The median age of the county is 19 years[45]. With a population of over 100 million, the youth is a force that requires immediate response to its economic and political demands.

IV. Conclusion

The East Asian experience with developmental state in the 1970s and 80s paints a picture that developmental political economy performs well in a stricter system impatient to voices competitive of developmental narratives. An autocratic state with a tight grip on the economy and has indeed managed to produce miraculous results in those countries. Perhaps the general circumstances of the time might have allowed such a system to work the way it did.

In current times and with the peculiar features of Africa, however, it is highly unlikely governments that prioritize economic rights over civil and political rights can succeed as their East Asian counterparts. Africa’s youthful population demands the respect of both political and economic rights. States that have adopted the developmental political economy system are also continuously called upon to facilitate a political space for other competing narratives.

Botswana is among the very few countries that is able to instil a democratic feature to its developmental system. Such an endeavor has worked perfectly so far for the country. The country is able to build a system that relatively satisfies both the economic and political rights of the people.

Ethiopia’s experience with developmental system has given much focus on tackling poverty. Such an approach has produced positive results. However, the country needs to also open up the space for the progress of political rights. The leadership in the country has to identify approaches that can continue delivering on development and at the same time cultivate a participatory system to ensure the promotion and protection of civil and political right

V. References

A Proclamation on Anti-Terrorism, 2009, Proc. No. 652/2009, http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ba799d32.html Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Proclamation to Provide for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies, 2009, Proc. No. 621/2009, https://chilot.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/charities20and20societies20proclamation.pdf, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Africa News, 2017, Ethiopia overtakes Kenya as economic giant of East Africa, http://www.africanews.com/2017/05/29/ethiopia-overtakes-kenya-as-economic-giant-of-east-africa//, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Alice Asmden, 1989, Asia’s Next Giant. South Korea and Late Industrialization, New

York, Oxford University Press.

Alice Amsden, 1992, A Theory of Government Intervention in Late Industrialization, in:

Louis Putterman/Dietrich Rueschemeyer (eds.), State and Market in

Development. Synergy or Rivalry? New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Armed Conflict Location and Event Database, COUNTRY REPORT: Popular Mobilisation in Ethiopia: An Investigation of Activity from November 2015 to May 2017, https://www.acleddata.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ACLED_Africa_Country-Reports_Ethiopia_June-2017_pdf.pdf Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2016 — Botswana Country Report. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2016.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017, Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia, http://carnegieendowment.org/2017/05/18/surveillance-and-state-control-in-ethiopia-pub-69960, Accessed on 11/03/82018.

Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 1995, http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/et/et007en.pdf Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Ernest Aryeetey et al. (eds.), 2003, Africa and Asia in the Global Economy, Tokyo: United

Nations University Press.

Freedom House, 2018, Freedom in the World 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/botswana, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Freedom House, 2018, Freedom in the World 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/ethiopia, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

Leonardo R. Arriola and Terrence Lyons, 2016, The 100% Election, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 27, No. 1.

Linda Weiss, 2000, Developmental States in Transition. Adapting, Dismantling,

Innovating, not “Normalising,” in: The Pacific Review, 13 (1).

 

Linda Weiss and Elizabeth Thurbon, 2004, Where there is a will there’s a way. Governing

the Market in Times of Uncertainty, in: Issues and Studies, 40 (1).

 

Linda Low (ed.), 2004, Developmental States. Relevant, Redundant or Reconfigured?,

New York, Nova Science Publishers.

 

Mark Beeson, 2006, Politics and Markets in East Asia. Is the Developmental State

Compatible with Globalisation?, in: Richard Stubbs/Geoffrey R.D. Underhill

(eds.): Political Economy and the Changing Global Order, 3rd edition, Ontario,

Oxford University Press.

 

Meles Zenawi, 2012, African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings,  http://www.meleszenawi.com/african-development-dead-ends-and-new-biginnings-by-meles-zenawi/ Accessed on 11/03/2018.

 

Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report 101/2010.

Productive Capacity and Economic Growth in Ethiopia, 2017, UNECA, CDP Background Paper, No. 34.

The Ethiopian Herald, 2017, Industrial parks in Ethiopia’s economic development,

http://ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/technology/item/9721-industrial-parks-in-ethiopia-s-economic-development, Accesses on 11/3/2018.

World Bank, 2018, http://web.worldbank.org/archive/website01321/WEB/0__CONTE.HTM  Accessed on 03/11/2018.

United Nations Human Development Programme, 2016, Human Development Report, http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/BWA, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

United Nations Human Development Programme, 2016, Human Development Report, http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/ETH, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

World Bank, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/botswana/overview, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

World Bank, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[1] Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report

101/2010.

[2] IBID

[3] Linda Weiss, 2000, Developmental States in Transition. Adapting, Dismantling,

Innovating, not “Normalising,” in: The Pacific Review, 13 (1).

[4] Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report

101/2010.

[5] Linda Weiss and Elizabeth Thurbon, 2004, Where there is a will there’s a way. Governing

the Market in Times of Uncertainty, in: Issues and Studies, 40 (1).

[6] Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report

101/2010.

[7] Ernest Aryeetey et al. (eds.), 2003, Africa and Asia in the Global Economy, Tokyo: United

Nations University Press.

[8] Mark Beeson, 2006, Politics and Markets in East Asia. Is the Developmental State

Compatible with Globalisation?, in: Richard Stubbs/Geoffrey R.D. Underhill

(eds.): Political Economy and the Changing Global Order, 3rd edition, Ontario,

Oxford University Press.

[9] Alice Amsden, 1992, A Theory of Government Intervention in Late Industrialization, in:

Louis Putterman/Dietrich Rueschemeyer (eds.), State and Market in

Development. Synergy or Rivalry? New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

[10] Alice Asmden, 1989, Asia’s Next Giant. South Korea and Late Industrialization, New

York, Oxford University Press.

[11] Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report

101/2010.

[12] Alice Asmden, 1989, Asia’s Next Giant. South Korea and Late Industrialization, New

York, Oxford University Press.

[13] Linda Low (ed.), 2004, Developmental States. Relevant, Redundant or Reconfigured?,

New York, Nova Science Publishers.

[14] Peter Meyns and Charity Musamba, 2010, The Developmental State in Africa: Problems and Prospects, Institute for Development and Peace, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, INEF-Report

101/2010.

[15] IBID

[16] IBID

[17] World Bank, 2018, http://web.worldbank.org/archive/website01321/WEB/0__CONTE.HTM  Accessed on 03/11/2018.

[18] Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2016 — Botswana Country Report. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2016.

[19] BDP was the first party to take power in independent Botswana. The party is still in power and oversaw the country’s ascendancy in economic and political development.

[20] IBID

[21] Meles Zenawi, 2012, African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings,  http://www.meleszenawi.com/african-development-dead-ends-and-new-biginnings-by-meles-zenawi/ Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[22] IBID

[23]  Productive Capacity and Economic Growth in Ethiopia, 2017, UNECA, CDP Background Paper, No. 34.

[24]  The Ethiopian Herald, 2017, Industrial parks in Ethiopia’s economic development,

http://ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/technology/item/9721-industrial-parks-in-ethiopia-s-economic-development, Accesses on 11/3/2018.

[25] Leonardo R. Arriola and Terrence Lyons, 2016, The 100% Election, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 27, No. 1.

[26] IBID

[27] Armed Conflict                Location and Event Database, COUNTRY REPORT: Popular Mobilisation in Ethiopia: An Investigation of Activity from November 2015 to May 2017, https://www.acleddata.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ACLED_Africa_Country-Reports_Ethiopia_June-2017_pdf.pdf Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[28] Freedom House, 2018, Freedom in the World 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/botswana, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[29] IBID

[30] Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2016 — Botswana Country Report. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2016.

[31] United Nations Human Development Programme, 2016, Human Development Report, http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/BWA, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[32] IBID

[33] World Bank, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/botswana/overview, Accessed on 11/03/201    8.

[34] IBID

[35] Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 1995, http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/et/et007en.pdf Accessed on 11/03/2018

[36] Freedom House, 2018, Freedom in the World 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/ethiopia, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[37] A Proclamation on Anti-Terrorism, 2009, Proc. No. 652/2009, http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ba799d32.html Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[38] Proclamation to Provide for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies, 2009, Proc. No. 621/2009, https://chilot.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/charities20and20societies20proclamation.pdf,  Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[39] Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017, Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia, http://carnegieendowment.org/2017/05/18/surveillance-and-state-control-in-ethiopia-pub-69960, Accessed on 11/03/82018.

[40] Leonardo R. Arriola and Terrence Lyons, 2016, The 100% Election, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 27, No. 1.

[41] World Bank, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[42] IBID

[43] Africa News, 2017, Ethiopia overtakes Kenya as economic giant of East Africa, http://www.africanews.com/2017/05/29/ethiopia-overtakes-kenya-as-economic-giant-of-east-africa//, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[44] United Nations Human Development Programme, 2016, Human Development Report, http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/ETH, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

[45] World Bank, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview, Accessed on 11/03/2018.

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Brexit: Lessons for Regionalism in Africa

Introduction

On 24 June 2016, the Brexit referendum results were announced: 52% of UK voters chose to leave the European Union (EU), against 48% who chose to remain. Winston Churchill1, one of the first to call for the creation of a “United States of Europe”, would no doubt turn in his grave on this news. He was an avid believer, not only in the economic prospects of integration, but also that only a united continent could guarantee peace and eliminate the ills of nationalism.

The relationship between mainland Europe and the UK has often oscillated between caution and outright aloofness. The European Coal and Steel Community was set up in 1951 with the ambitious idea of eventually uniting European countries, both economically and politically, in order to secure lasting peace as well as bring its people together, promote greater understanding, and create platforms for dialogue among Europeans. Initially, the UK opted not to join the organisation and again in 1957 declined to be one of the founding members that signed the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC).

Trapped in its own belief of exceptionalism, with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and atop the Commonwealth as a modern day remnant of its former empire, the British were convinced they had little to gain from the EEC. It was for these reasons that London only decided to send a mid-ranking trade officer to merely observe the signing of the Treaty of Rome.4 It was only in 1973, sixteen years after the Treaty, that Britain reluctantly opted to join the Community following its initial success.5 In many ways, then, the UK’s membership in the EU has always been based on rational calculations of her enlightened national interest; or, at best, only transactional.

The EU’s reputation for bureaucratic inertia, and for turning itself into an alternative centre of power, is often blamed for Brexit. The Union’s particular fixation with economics and excessive regulations created feelings of isolation and detachment among European citizens, and further widened the gap

between them and the bureaucrats in Brussels, the seat of the Union. In many ways, this disconnect demonstrates the failure of traditional political elites in communicating (and translating) regional policies to their constituencies at the local level. Alongside the growing fear of immigrants flooding the job market, disconnect with Brussels only reinforced the widespread euro-scepticism harboured by many Britons. It should not have been a surprise that despite sharing common values and enjoying the benefits of open borders, the UK nevertheless voted to leave the EU by a slim margin of 4%.

There are at least two reasons why Brexit matters for Africa, in general, and for the regional integration effort of the AU, particular. First, is that African integration schemes mirror the EU model- including on peace, security and development cooperation issues. Second, is that the EU is currently the leading financial benefactor to regional integration in Africa as epitomised by its support to the AU.

Regional Integration in Africa:

It was the vision of African leaders that economic cooperation and political integration based on shared norms and values, similar to what the founding fathers of the EU had in mind, were important to the economic and political development of the continent. These realisations, combined with potential security concerns, led to the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 followed by other institutions such as the African Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the five regional economic communities, and the three regional mechanisms recognised as
building blocks of the integration process in Africa.

Other frameworks established by the AU to advance regional integration in Africa include the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), adopted in 2002, and the Millennium Integration Plan, launched in 2009, to accelerate coordination, convergence and collaboration among the RECs towards achieving the ultimate objective of an African Economic Communities. Moreover, the AU adopted Agenda 2063, a document that maps out the road to the gradual creation of a continent that is fully integrated – economically and politically. The Agenda taps into the gains from the last half century, and draws lessons from the development and security challenges the continent is projected to face during the next 50 years, until 2063.

The signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA), the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations as well as the launch of the African Union (AU) Passport are also major steps towards regional integration. While much work remains to be accomplished, these steps represent positive progress to justify the view that Africa’s regional integration efforts are on track.

Even at that, a lot of challenges continue to impede the integration process. For instance, while RECs have created the necessary legal and policy frameworks to drive integration, actual implementation has been slow at national levels. Security challenges in the form of rebellions, post- electoral violence, resource-induced conflicts and more, also continue to undermine integration efforts process on the continent. Further, the dearth of commitment on the part of African states to cede power to regional communities has continued to hamper the capacity and performance of the RECs in leading integration processes. With little or no authoritative mandate, RECs continue to rely on the whim and caprices of their member states in implementing regional policies.

Lessons from Brexit for Regional Integration in Africa

In view of its vast supranational powers and institutional capacity, the EU has become an archetype for other regional organisations around the world by virtue of its extensive mandate over member states and its role in political and economic integration, the EU. While the AU is nowhere as far as attaining and exercising a similar level of influence, it can still learn a number of hard lessons from Brexit.

First and foremost, the Brexit experience revealed that translating the tangible benefits of integration to citizens across board is at the heart of any durable

integration process. In short, then, the lessons that Africa could draw from Brexit should give insights into how the continent is able to recognise and respond to future challenges and to put itself on stronger pedestal. The few points highlighted here are only therefore meant to signpost the need for Africa to pay critical attention to strengthening integration by tackling those myriad social, economic, political and security challenges it faces.

 

1. Strengthen Economic Integration

To maximise gains from integration, African economies – through RECs – need to give premium attention to effective coordination. Advancing economic integration in the continent has always been a difficult task, and for a number of related reasons linked to the non-complementarity nature of their economies, their meagre investment in innovation, and the widening infrastructural deficits many countries face. As a strategy to maximising the benefits of regionalism, therefore, several countries have resorted to multiple, and overlapping, memberships in different RECs. A major consequence is that doing so soon leads to divisions and conflicting commitments. It also hinders several efforts to rationalise integration processes within different regions.

Economic integration is the primary pillar of integration in the continent, as elsewhere. It is without dispute that African states are better off economically integrated than otherwise. By reducing trading costs and creating spill over effects, economic integration maximises state gains both in low and high politics. This will not only avert incidents such as Brexit but also empower regional and continental bodies to push for more integration and authority.

Based on their scorecards, African states have so far not been able to fully tap into the benefits of economic integration; the type that is necessary for building peaceful and prosperous regional arrangements. Between 2000 and 2014, the continent registered an annual economic growth rate of 4% while intra- and inter-regional cooperation have at no time exceeded 10-15% of the continent’s total trade. Even if economic growth is expected to produce a positive spill-over effect on integration, the limitations that African states face in transforming the structural configurations of their national economies continues to hinder their capacity to knit together their economies. The road towards building stronger interdependence between and among states in Africa therefore demands the fulfilment of basic, but still missing, requirements for integration.

Invest in comparative advantage: In order to create a robust and sustainable value chains, African states must recognise the urgency to transform themselves from purely mono-cultural and agro-based economies to those that prioritise investment on the manufacturing sector. Classical economics teach that considerable trade between states can only be achieved if those involved engage in specialisation, including in the production of manufacturing goods rather than focus on the same items. This prescription also applies to individual countries.

Innovation: Any conscious effort to implement structural transformation must take heed to invest in innovations. Of course, the last decade or more has clearly shown that demand-oriented exports can create continued economic growth, only that it is also subject to the vagaries of volatile global price shocks. This situation, in turn, limits how much countries can to rely merely on the export of primary commodities such as agricultural and mineral resources without ensuring value addition, complementarity and integration.

Bridging the Gaps in Implementation: Africa is not short of legal frameworks and policies on regionalism. What is obviously lacking, across board, is implementation; first, at the national level, in situations where countries have demonstrated persistent reluctant to domesticate regional polices in their national developmental priorities just as they are unwilling to cede requisite authority to regional mechanisms. It is anachronistic that African states are reluctant to empower inter-government institutions such as the AU and RECs because they still see them as threat to their sovereignty. They would, indeed, prefer to see regional initiatives flounder than allow any external authority above them.

Still, the experiences of the EU have shown that calculation of costs and benefits by constituent states could very easily throw spanner into the best of regionalism processes anywhere in the world. Africa cannot be an exception given the manner that states want to reap the benefits of integration but are not willing to give what it takes in terms of implementing decisions and meeting commitments.

2. Benefits at the Micro-Level

Integration should not solely focus on economic growth and regulation at the macro-level, but should also effectively translate into tangible benefits at the micro-level if it must catch the sentiments of citizens. There is no gainsaying that integration technocrats, particular those working for intergovernmental institutions such as the AU and RECs, have to constantly gauge and take cognisance of how citizens of member states embrace, for good or bad, the regional policies adopted. While full integration in Africa is still mostly aspirational, securing adequate buy-in from ordinary African citizens from Juba to Johannesburg is the most basic step in the long march to consummate regionalism.

It was envisaged, for instance, that the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) of the AU that was planned for full launch in 2017 will help bring closer the existing customs unions and common markets on the continent by turning the 54 single African economies into a more coherent, bigger and stronger market. To achieve this important aspiration would however depend, for the most part, on the extent that ordinary citizens are able to migrate from one part to another; be it for tourism, trade or to settle and work anywhere. Currently, the empire of barriers to any of those is considerable that citizens have little or no affinity with decisions taken by intergovernmental institutions supposedly to improve their lives.

In the Brexit scenario, it was clear that a large proportion of the British population did not see the positive effects their country was getting from

membership of the EU. In fact, according to some analysts, it was the population living in the regions that were the least integrated in the UK that voted to leave. Citizens from other EU member states, in particular Eastern Europe, also largely migrated to UK in search of better employment. As a result, migrants were regarded as crowding the job market and putting undue pressure on public services, two factors that influenced the “leave” outcomes of the referendum. If African governments ignore the handwriting on the wall that their citizens are not benefitting in any tangible ways from current regionalism initiatives, it is a matter of time before they begin to undermine the same.

3. Guarantee Youth Inclusivity

It is instructive in a curious sense that majority
(75%) of those that voted to remain in the EU in the UK’s Brexit referendum were young people. To their dismay, unfortunately, the final result was that Britain should leave the EU. The initial fears at the time were limited employment options and travel barriers that the youth would have to face. For Africa, then, the key lesson from the massive youth participation in the Brexit referendum should not be lost on African governments who mostly pay lip service to the empowerment and mainstreaming of young people in development and national affairs.

The reality is that there would be a bigger backlash for governments that disenfranchise young people, be it from political or economic opportunities associated with integration. The demographic bulge that is obvious on the continent show that 40% of the continent’s population fall between the ages of 15 and 24, and this number is expected to double by
2045. That such a vastly untapped human resource is still outside of any official calculations in terms of access to education, employment and access to subsidised socio-economic opportunities is a dangerous gamble.

For as long as the political environment in most African countries has yet to fully cultivate young people, and allow them to participate in an all- inclusive democratic system, the time is ticking. Clearly, there are still many proverbial rivers to cross to close up the widening and alienating gaps that African states face to meet the growing needs of the youth.

Conclusion

That the Brexit result shocked other EU member states is no longer news. What is inevitable is how this development is forcing their citizens to ask serious questions forcing them to re-evaluate the costs and benefits of the Union. Suddenly, it seems that shared values that Europe once prided itself for is now been replaced by despair and feeling that its constituents are actually strange bedfellows. Now one would have imagined that countries such as France, the Netherlands and Italy are now rethinking their membership in the EU, and this would have serious implications even beyond Europe as the first attempt by the UK has shown.22 With the aspiration for full economic and political integration yet to be met in any considerable way, the ghost of Brexit is going to haunt Africa for some time to come.

It might be that the situation could be reversed in ways that put integration in Africa on a sound and secured footing. This must start; first and foremost, when African leaders, policy makers and technocrats begin to rethink the prevailing modus operandi for integration. As noted previously, there is no better time than now to make integration more attractive and favourable to African citizen. To push the cause of integration, African governments must not only give their intergovernmental institutions what it takes but also look closer home to satisfy the yearning and aspirations of their citizens. After all, give or take, ordinary citizens should be the beneficiaries of whatever investments their countries make.

End Notes

Former army officer, war reporter and British Prime Minister (1940-45 and 1951-55)

In his famous “Speech to the academic youth” in Zurich, Switzerland, on 19 September 1946, Churchill said ”…we must re-create the European family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe, and the first practical step will be to form a Council of Europe. If at first all the States of Europe are not willing or able to join the union we must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can.”

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:xy0022

http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2016/02/07/british-euroscepticism-a-brief-history/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/1/newsid_2459000/2459167.stm;

http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/tradeindustry/importexport/overview/europe/ 6 https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/EconomistBrexitBriefs16.pdf

Regional integration was sought by African leaders to overcome three fundamental development limitations: Small sized economies, the lack of structural complementarities and dependence on import of intermediate and final goods.

Greater interdependence minimises the potential of inter-state conflicts.

In subsequent periods, RECs were established on the basis of trading arrangement in form of free trade areas, customs union and common markets were established.

The TFTA, concluded between the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was signed in June 2015. Negotiations for a CFTA were formally launched in June 2015 and are expected to continue until the end of 2017.

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/…/aria5_print_uneca_fin_20_july_1.pdf

17 different regional organisations all have overlapping memberships and mandates

Key messages from the report: Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VII: Innovation, Competitiveness and regional integration, 2015, UNECA

Update on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), African Union,

http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/newsevents/workingdocuments/12582-wd- update_on_the_report_on_the_continental_free_trade_en.pdf

https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/EconomistBrexitBriefs16.pdf

http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2013/africa%E2%80%99s-youth-%E2%80%9Cticking-time-bomb%E2%80%9D- or-opportunity

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/23/the-brexit-contagion-how-france-italy-and-the-netherlands-now-wa/