Policy makers face critical decisions regarding a regional economic strategy in southern Africa and this work stream will bring together personnel from Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), a South Africa think tank, dti, and UNU-WIDER to support this important agenda through the production of policy-relevant research across four focus areas:
- South Africa, SADC and beyond
- South Africa as a regional investor
- the spatial economy of southern Africa
- the political economy of regional growth and
- strengthening regional value-chain
The improved growth dynamics in Africa in general, and in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in particular, has led to rapid growth in regional trade combined with an improved political and economic environment within the region. So far regional integration has mainly involved the ‘easy’ first stage toward integration — exchange of market access — and several major issues have surfaced with respect to the regional integration agenda, for example; broad-based policy steps needed to deepen regional integration have slowed considerably, and a notable incoherence between national policies and the regional integration agenda.
The strong linkages with regional research institutions developed during the ‘Regional Growth and Development in Southern Africa’ programme, and UNU-WIDER’s existing in-country engagements with governments throughout the region, will offer the opportunity to structure policy engagements focused on the results of the research undertaken within this work stream. The nature of this regional work stream and its network of regional research institutions offers substantial scope for capacity-building, including transfer of accumulated expertise to a range of countries in the SADC region through collaboration with new research partners.