Regional Integration is one of the most prominent phenomena in the 21st century; it has manifested itself in various ways worldwide, including through the Intra-Regional Trade. The African continent has not been an exception as we have seen African leaders calling for the strengthening of the continent's Regional Economic Communities (RECs) through the signing of the Abuja Treaty in the year 1991 in the quest for the African Economic Community (AEC). As one of Africa's RECs, SADC signed the Trade Protocol in the year 1996 seeking to enhance the free flow of goods, services and capital among member states, presumably in response to the call from the continental level. Regional integration initiatives are not without challenges in the African continent. Thus, using the case of SADC's Free Trade Agreement (FTA), envisaged by the Trade Protocol, this study seeks to understand the contributing factors to the failure of the member states, who are signatories to the Trade Protocol, to live up to their commitments. It argues that varying degrees of economic growth and development, as well as different trading structures, have different impacts on member states' responses to their commitments. To conduct this study, a Qualitative case study approach is adopted. The study recommends that, efforts made by SADC to industrialise the region, through the Regional Development Fund, should be prioritised and well implemented as it has the potential to capacitate SADC member states that lack necessary infrastructure and developed industry sector to efficiently work towards goals enshrined in the region’s trade protocol.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.