Changing Economic Balances and Integration in Africa Rising

Published September 2017

Changing Economic Balances and Integration in Africa Rising examines what happens to geopolitics when economic balances change between neighbours and between regions?

Does the emergence of rising powers and dislocation of incumbents matter in the development trajectories of countries and regions? In contemporary Africa, what happens if the economic balance changes between Nigeria, South Africa, and other countries and how will regional politics be affected? Those and other questions are what inspired MISTRA to undertake a macro-analysis study of what can be referred to as changing economic balances in Africa.

History records a number of instances where the change in economic balances often leads to heightened political and diplomatic tensions, including escalations to war: for example, the rise of Athens against Sparta, and the rise of Germany against a dominant Britain a century ago. Indeed, the record shows that a country’s self-perception, self-projection and a sense of prestige can be affected by its newly found status and capabilities and thus impact on the quality of relations with others. In some instances, these changes can express themselves through competition for regional and overseas markets and even imperial dominion over territory, as was the case in Europe with the 19th century Scramble for Africa. Today, the rebalancing of power between Japan and China finds expression in claims and counter-claims over the islands in the South and East China seas.​

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