Regional intergration and international law: a study of the new East African community

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University of Dar es Salaam
Regional integration is a scheme of cooperation among nations. In principle, it must draw the attention of international law, because the latter's function is to regulate relations among nations. But in this area, principles of international law seem to be unsettled as yet, as integration initiatives in different parts of the world take so many forms. It is also a fact that many of such initiatives experience failures, which is also the case with the former East African Community. This fact raises one major issue; as to whether by taking international law as a point of departure, it is possible to ascertain the working principles guaranteeing a successful integration. In trying to answer this question, this discourse makes a study of the new East African Community, but beginning by examining the past integration initiatives in East Africa, to uncover the weaknesses, and to use the lessons learnt to discover the working principles for a successful integration. The findings show that regardless of the form, regional integration is a phenomenon that is built upon three pillars namely: the concept of integration; the processes for integration; and the framework that carry the integration scheme. The conceptual aspect is jurisprudential, revolving around the problem of supranationality and sovereignty; and the processes and the institutional framework are practical aspects. Thus, international law in regional integration has two perspectives namely jurisprudential, and practical. It is also a finding in this study that, international law on regional integration is well established on the practical paradigm, but not on the jurisprudential one. In our conclusion we assert that, a successful integration depends on how well the three variables, namely the concept, the processes and the institutional framework are articulated, and to what extent do they operate in consonance with each other.
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Regionalism (international law), Africa, East, East African Community
Kilangi, A (2003) Regional intergration and international law: a study of the new East African community. Masters dissertation. University of Dar es Salaam. Available at