An analysis of the impact of cultural imperialism to regional economic integration initiatives: A case study of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)1992-2015
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This research is premised on the hypothesis that lack of industrialisation has impeded Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states’ regional economic integration initiatives. It seeks to explain why this is so by zeroing in on an analysis of the impact of cultural imperialism on regional economic integration initiatives, with a case study of SADC in the period 1992 – 2015. The research hypothesis that lack of industrialisation within SADC is linked to cultural imperialism practised by former colonial masters and willingly inherited by SADC member states after the attainment of political independence. Core to the study is an examination of the response of political leaders of SADC as change agents or lack thereof to an initially imposed, but willingly inherited colonial consciousness and culture, which demeans Africans’ belief in their own capabilities in science and technology, innovation and all knowledge systems which lead to development, but venerates that Europeans and Americans, and now also that of the Orient, leading to lack of industrialisation within SADC. The motivation for the research is the need to add new information to already existing literature on the reasons for lack of industrialisation within SADC member states.Qualitative and quantitative data collection methods were utilised in the process of gathering data. Questionnaires, interviews, and documentary research were used as data collection methodologies. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were utilised in selecting relevant respondents. Qualitative data analysis methods were utilised in analysing the data.Chapter 1 introduces the study by tracing the origins of political and economic integration, particularly post World War II. Thus, whilst the research focuses on SADC, the researcher uses the European Union (EU) as the baseline for the efficacy of the SADC regional economic integration initiatives not only because the EU is the most successfully integrated economic region in the world, but because of its recent imperialist ties with SADC member states. Chapter 2 focuses on a conceptualisation of regional economic integration and cultural imperialism, explaining the link between the two. Chapter 3 seeks to x validate the hypothesis that cultural imperialism has a causative effect on lack of industrialisation in SADC and consequently has impeded regional economic integration initiatives in the region. Chapter 4 presents the major findings of the research. Information gathered by the researcher reveals that cultural imperialism as accepted and edified by SADC’s political leadership has resulted in lack of industrialisation and consequently lack of product complementarity, leading to the paucity of intra-regional trade within SADC, thus negatively affecting regional economic integration initiatives. Chapter 5 presents the conclusions of the study with recommendations which SADC may consider to take on board if it is to avoid remaining “the wretched of the earth”. The chapter also highlights the possibilities for further research particularly in view of the ongoing initiatives to harmonise the trade regimes of the diseparate regional groupings in Africa, including SADC. How is this possible on an empty industrial and manufacturing base?