A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

reasons for the 'culture of conservatism

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AU's political leadership of a crisis solution in the Central African Re-
public and instead aims to install ECCAS — under Chad's leadership
— as the prime institution to address the crisis. Similar moves have
been undertaken by the members of ECOWAS during the Mali crisis
and Southern African countries with regard to the crises in Mada-
gascar and Zimbabwe. These are signs that a large number of African
leaders rather want the regional economic communities to be in
control of crisis solution, also because they have a tighter control over
these organisations.

4. Reasons for the 'culture of conservatism'

Four reasons that might explain the 'culture of conservatism' are elab-
orated in this section. These are lack of capacity, lack of willingness to
cede sovereignty, national leaders' refusal to surrender personal power,
and the fact that regional economic communities might be more
attractive — and controllable — for member states. This is not an all-
inclusive list. There are many other explanations that come into play,
such as economic reasoning or the legacies of the independence
struggle, as reflected upon elsewhere (Welz 2012).

Firstly, with regard to the lack of capacity, we see a large num-

ber of African states not having the resources to engage in continental
or regional integration. The reasons are various and include a lack of
finances or the fact that there are vital domestic problems — such as
post-conflict reconstruction — to solve. States suffering from a civil
war, being in a post-conflict situation, or experiencing a coup d'état
might have no resources for visionary ideas like continental integration
that offer little direct and immediate benefits. The case of Burundi, sug-
gests that the foreign policy focus of a post-conflict state is on the
donor countries that assist the recovery of such states (see Bauer and
Langen 2007). The region only comes second, let alone the continental
level. The same is true for Libya or Mali, which turn towards Europe —
and France in particular — as they see more benefits and aid during
their post-conflict phases coming from across the Mediterranean than
from the AU.

Numerous AU member states depend on donor aid and do not

have the ability to generate the necessary funds to finance state ad-
ministration or state provided infrastructure such as schools or roads.
This lack of financial resources resonates with their inability to engage

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

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