Project

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Europe’s role in African regionalism: cooperation, institutions and integration

English title Europe’s role in African regionalism: cooperation, institutions and integration
Applicant Staeger Ueli
Number 172079
Funding scheme Doc.CH
Research institution Political Science Department Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.03.2017 - 28.02.2021
Approved amount 284'135.00
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Keywords (5)

Regional & international organizations; EU foreign policy; African politics; development cooperation

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Afrikanische Union (AU) umfasst die Länder des gesamten afrikanischen Kontinents. Historisch dem dekolonialen Pan-Afrikanismus verpflichtet, ist die Organisation heute hauptsächlich durch externe Geber finanziert. Afrikanische Friedensförderung, Infrastrukturprojekte und Wirtschaftsintegration sind also von der EU, der USA und China finanziert. Warum sind externe Akteure so stark in die AU eingebunden? Und welche Auswirkungen hat diese Einbindung externer Akteure in die AU? Dieses Projekt untersucht diese Fragen aus politikwissenschaftlicher Perspektive, mitunter durch qualitativer Feldforschung am AU-Hauptsitz in Äthiopien.
Lay summary

Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Das Forschungsprojekt strebt eine Theorie der Rolle der externen Geber in regionalen Organisationen an. Anhand der Sicherheitspolitik und der Infrastrukturföderung der AU wird untersucht, inwiefern Ressourcen und Praktiken des afrikanischen Regionalismus die Rolle externer Geber erklären. Hierzu postuliert das Projekt drei theoretische Mechanismen: 1) Die Duplizierung der Prinzipal-Agent-Problematik in der AU-Kommission durch externe Geber; 2) die rhetorische, aber nicht faktische Ausrichtung afrikanischer Staaten mit externen Gebern (“Extraversion”); 3) die Konkurrenz zwischen verschiedenen externen Gebern. Das Projekt studiert die AU als politisches System, das allerdings massgeblich von externen Akteuren mitbestimmt wird.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Die Forschungsfrage dieses Projekt ist, nebst seiner Relevanz für die Erforschung internationaler Organisationen, politisch relevant. Die AU strebt seit rund 10 Jahren mehr finanzielle Unabhängigkeit an, hat aber noch keine Erfolgsrezepte für dieses Anliegen gefunden. Im globalen Kontext trägt dieses Projekt zur Debatte zu einer moderneren, regionalisierten Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, aber auch der Rolle nichtwestlicher Geber wie China, bei.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.02.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
‘Rethinking Development’ Swedish Development Research Conference Talk given at a conference The power of bureaucratization: influence through external aid at the African Union 22.08.2018 Göteborg, Sweden Staeger Ueli;
British International Study Association Annual Conference Talk given at a conference Pay to play? Unpacking external actor involvement at the African Union 14.06.2017 Brighton, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Staeger Ueli;
European Workshops in International Studies, European International Studies Association Talk given at a conference External actor involvement at the African Union: organization, resources and practices 07.06.2017 Cardiff, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Staeger Ueli;
7th European Conference on African Studies Talk given at a conference External actor involvement at the African Union: organization, resources and practices 01.06.2017 Basel, Switzerland Staeger Ueli;


Awards

Title Year
African Affairs & British International Studies Association (BISA), Postgraduate Paper Prize. Best postgraduate paper, on a topic related to Africa. Winners are invited to submit their manuscript to African Affairs. 2017

Abstract

The African Union (AU) groups 54 African countries in a unique regional organization. In theory, the AU is the organizational beacon of African decolonization. In practice, African regionalism is a complex regional social space made up of African elites, foreign donors and AU bureaucrats. The amount of financial and diplomatic involvement of foreign actors at the AU is striking: The AU’s programmes are almost exclusively financed by foreign donors, not by AU members. This project is therefore driven by the following puzzle: Why and with what consequences are European actors involved in African regionalism? The thesis makes an important theoretical contribution to the study of international organizations and regionalism, as the literature lacks an understanding of external actor involvement. The thesis’ theoretical framework incorporates formal institutional politics, but also the informal governance of regionalism. African regionalism is particularly prone to informal modes of governance, such as neo-patrimonialism and clientelism. By attempting to influence African regionalism, external actors thus become part of the formal politics but also informal governance of African regionalism. The project raises the following research question: Why and with what consequences are external actors involved in African regionalism? The project will assess three explanations that range from African elite enrichment, effective institutional capacity-building, to AU bureaucratic autonomy. Its relational account of external resources in African regionalism furthermore allows studying an understudied feedback-loop: European actors that influence African regionalism are themselves changed. The case selection falls on the AU and European external actors, as this provides a puzzling normative backdrop and a vibrant EU regionalism driving European involvement. The theoretical framework is applied to three case studies on infrastructure and development, and security. Research will be conducted using a mixed-method approach that includes quantitative data from donors and the AU, as well as extensive field research through institutional anthropology. Overall, by filling a conspicuous gap in the literature, this project contributes to the study of regionalism, international organizations, development aid and African politics.
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