Mengisteab, Kidane and Redie Bereketeab, (eds.): Regional Integration, Identity and Citizenship in the Greater Horn of Africa.

Author:Senghor, Jeggan C.
Position:Book review

Mengisteab, Kidane and Redie Bereketeab, (eds.) Regional Integration, Identity and Citizenship in the Greater Horn of Africa. Suffolk, UK: James Currey, 2012.

The editors of the book under review state the following general objectives: "(1) to identify the factors that can foster integration and the elements that impede it and to explore how to strengthen the former and transform the latter, (2) to explain how regional integration can contribute in mitigating the region's various conflicts, and (3) to explain how integration can help energizing and transforming the region's economy" (p. 5). The authors seek to "explore the relations of regional integration with inter-identity and citizenship rights" given that these have tremendous potential to become catalysts to integration (p. 5). In the pursuit of these aims and objectives, the book is divided into three parts. The first part is dedicated to how integration in the region is relevant to identity and citizenship, both conceptually and empirically. This lays the foundation for the second part, which identifies different dimensions of the relationships addressing "invisible integration," integration-promoting narratives, education systems, and radio and information dissemination. In the third part, contributors examine the experiences of three regional integration schemes: the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The preceding statements about the general and specific objectives of the book, as well as the main issues to dealt with in each part, are very titillating. They raise expectations of unique perspectives on the ever-burning subject of regional integration in Africa. The book purports to unpack three variables-identity, citizenship, and regional integration--and to delineate the relationships between them conceptually. For the most part, however, these expectations are not fulfilled. The first major problem is that the book lacks a definitive Introduction and Conclusion. What would normally be considered an introduction is presented as Chapter One. The result is an interesting chapter that reviews each of the three concepts of identity, citizenship, and regional integration, but cannot rise beyond that level because of an apparent lack of clarity as to whether it is a traditional introduction or a substantive chapter. Arguably, it should have constituted a rationale for the...

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