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Regional Economic Integration in the SADC : the poor implementatio of the RISDP
Regional integration continues to be a source of inspiration due to the economic benefits associated with a country belonging to a regional organisation. The African continent is no exception with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) taking note of such cooperation with exceeding attention. Its predecessor, the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC), was formed in 1980 and one of its most important goals was to economically integrate the Southern African region in order to improve the economic situation of its Member States. The transformation of the SADCC to the SADC in 1992 led to a much stronger SADC which was complimented further by the ratification of the SADC Protocol on Trade in 2000 and most importantly by the establishment of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) in 2001 through an Intergovernmental approach. The RISDP is seen as the most effective mechanism by the SADC to fully integrate the SADC effectively and is this study’s unit of analysis, as part of this study’s research strategy which is a case study methodology, under a qualitative research design which has been adopted for this study. However, this study notes that the RISDP is being poorly implemented by SADC Member States, as clearly stated in this study’s aim, and key examples include missing set milestones such as the formation of the SADC Customs Union in 2010. The focus on a customs union is essential as it will increase intraregional trade as this study believes that it will be the catalyst in truly economically integrating the SADC region.