African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 355

Full Length Research Paper

The way-forward to make inter-governmental authority on development (IGAD) successful in actualizing a viable economic integration

Tewodros Woldearegay
  • Tewodros Woldearegay
  • Political Science graduated fellow from School of Cultural Studies and Social Sciences, Osnabrueck University, Germany.
  • Google Scholar
Gosa Abera Mamo
  • Gosa Abera Mamo
  • Public Management graduate student at KDI-School of Public Policy and Management, South Korea.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 February 2019
  •  Accepted: 04 April 2019
  •  Published: 31 May 2019


Inter-governmental authority on development (IGAD) as a regional bloc is operating with a lot of impediments that delayed the organization from attaining greater economic integration. The objective of this study was to show the ways in which IGAD can actualize credible economic integration in the region, though the best is yet to come. Qualitative data collection approaches (interview and literature as primary and secondary data sources respectively) were employed. Finding of this study revealed that multi-level governance (MLG) model is the suitable approach to make IGAD successful in realizing greater economic integration. Decentralization of power, effective participation, designing specific objectives, sharing the lows as well as the highs, and establishing standing technical committee were the main strategies to effectuate MLG model on IGAD integration context. The major internal IGAD integration impediments were the presence of poor governance structure and weak leadership, the existence of weak Secretariat, the absence of annual meeting and the lack of cross-border institution. Whereas, the external hindering factors were the existence of longstanding political instability, armed conflicts and emergence of terrorist groups, lack of political determination, overlapping membership, similarity of import-export goods and the absence of uniformity among member states in undertaking responsibilities. In the nutshell, IGAD regional integration process is slow in its pace and needs urgent re-revitalization with the concept of MLG model. In order to make IGAD viable regional bloc re-revitalization of the IGAD governance structure with the concept of MLG model, having ordinary summit to address strategic agenda of the organization and  drawing lessons from the EU integration process as the EU decentralized power along its layers of governance structure were recommended.


Key words: Horn of Africa, Inter-governmental authority on development (IGAD), multi-level governance, regional economic communities, regional economic integration.


Regional economic communities (RECs) are established with the notion  of  expecting  wider  socio-economic  and political returns to the constituents (Mwasha, 2005). In support of this idea, Iyoha (2005) argued that the ultimate
feature of a higher level of integration is expressed in the form of having free trade area among members which more likely brought fast economic growth. Hence, the effect of economic integration is always described as the long-run existences of economic growth of member countries as a result of greater market access, frequent market competition and massive investment (Elena and Yuri, 2014; Mwasha, 2005). However, these universal realities did not happened at IGAD level and its absence significantly impacted IGAD’s success in actualizing viable regional integration (Healy, 2011).  As a result, IGAD as a regional bloc is featured with low economic performances to date than the rest of regional economic communities in Africa (IGAD, 1996). A notable example for this is: In the IGAD charter, article 7 of 1996 favors the promotion of regional trade and gradual harmonization of policies and avoidance of trade barriers to member state trade transactions, transport, and communication (IGAD, 1996; ECA, 2008).  But this is not practically implemented yet in the region due to IGAD’s poor enforcement mechanisms to push the member states to commit their responsibilities for the realization of economic prosperity of the region (ECA, 2012).
On the other hand, the recent global trend indicated that there has been enormous will of states towards regionalism which has made regional economic integration part and parcel of the global political and economic order (Garelli, 2012; Mazey, 2011). In this regard, IGAD is suffering from lack of greater political determination from its member states. The member states are not fully committed to realize the success of the integration; rather, their commitment to undertake responsibilities to materialize the objectives of the union is weak (Uzodike, 2009). For instance, from Maru (2015), issues which need high political determination such as committing annual membership fees, formulation of uniform macroeconomic policies and developing political trust among members were not uniformly undertaken by member countries. This eventually affected IGAD’s success in actualizing viable regional bloc in the Horn of Africa. Therefore, each of these bottlenecks needs closer scrutiny adequately and properly to make IGAD successful in attaining economically a viable regional bloc.
Multi-level governance is a system of governance in which multiple actors in certain governance structure can exercise authorities with defined responsibilities (Bache and Flinders, 2004). Thus, this study embraces multi-level governance as its theoretical lens to evaluate the role and functions of nation states and supranational institutions in IGAD economic integration scheme. This is because the theory has space to check the bureaucratic challenges facing IGAD from national governments and supranational institutions in achieving its initial  objectives (George, 2004). By so doing, it gives ample dimensions to the researcher to dig out all the possible remedies to make IGAD a viable regional economic union. Since the rationale of this theory focused on the governance aspect of regional integration, it will also help the researcher to forward practical and implementable recommendations that will make IGAD governance strong in achieving economic cooperation as a regional organization.
MLG as a recently developed theory has a capacity to evaluate regional economic integration schemes from different perspectives (Hatton, 2011). According to Marks (1992), the theory is appropriate to evaluate the governance effectiveness of a bloc of domestic (nation-state) and international politics (multi-national co-operation). Its basic assumption is applying decen-tralization of power along each layers of governance framework to actualize success. To effectuate this, the approach recommends decentralization of power along multi-tiered of actors (state and non-state actors) in governance framework of a bloc to represent the interest of the members (Gollata and Newig, 2017). As per the central idea of the theory, actors on each governance layer have defined authorities and activities, and are expected to preform accordingly as per their governance hierarchy (Haibach, 2000). Further, the system also allows vertical and horizontal communications between actors in the process of governing their organization (Marks, 1992).  Hence, the theory lays its theoretical foundations by acknowledging the essence of multiple actors in regional governance. With this basic understanding, IGAD’s governance framework was evaluated and recommendations are given to make IGAD more assertive in realizing greater economic integration.


Description of the study area
The research was conducted in Addis Ababa and Djibouti, where the IGAD offices are situated. The informants were selected from IGAD, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Africa Union (AU), independent research institutions and higher institutions. The rationale for choosing these institutions was determined by the availability of appropriate informants for the study. The researcher used MLG as a theoretical lens to evaluate IGAD’s governance structure. This is because the approach favors the relevance of multiple actors of governance to effectuate deeper regional integration in the contemporary political economy arrangement (Hatton, 2011).
Source of data and target groups
The informants were identified based on preliminary assessment on their understanding on the subject matter. Thus, the data on towards a successful economic integration in the Horn of Africa: pursuing a viable economic integration for IGAD was obtained from twenty five purposively selected informants from IGAD, ECA, AU Center for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CDRC) and Universities.  All  selected  organizations  were  represented  by five informants. Equivalent numbers of informants are selected to get fair and reasonable data for the study. The reason for choosing purposive sampling technique was it will help the researcher to understand the problem and the research question very well (Creswell, 2009). However, the researcher used data saturation as a frame of reference to determine the number of respondents who were involved in the study.
Respondents’ positions and gender category
The informants were diverse in terms of positions in order to assure the representation of the data. Hence, selection was done in a purposive manner as follows: Principal policy advisors (3); senior experts of economic cooperation department including the director (7); CDRC research experts (5); universities instructors (5); head of IGAD liaison office to AU; program officer of peace and security department to AU; high level advisory on peace and security, governance, humanitarian and migration to AU; executive director of IGAD; senior researcher economic cooperation to AU were represented with 1 informant respectively. Furthermore, 80% of the informants were males, whereas the remaining 20% were females.
Data collection tools
Questionnaires were addressed through interview to each informant to forward the possible remedy to make IGAD successful in achieving greater economic integration. The questions were open ended with semi-structured manner to make the interviewees more free in addressing the questions. The questionnaire has 10 questions with four parts that are: 2 questions about remedies to make IGAD successful in realizing viable economic integration; 4 questions deals with the major impediments of the scheme; 2 questions covers the roles and responsibilities of the actors in the union and 2 questions addressed the relevance of the non-existing actors to effectuate the scheme.
Data analysis
The study employed qualitative data analysis methods to analyze the responses of the informants. The method does not restrict the informants from divulging information and it is also suitable for the study. 


The present study investigated that there is a big gap between the initial economic integration objectives of IGAD and the current reality on the ground. These challenges may have serious consequences if it goes unresolved as it may lead to a detachment of IGAD from its initial integration objectives. This study, in this regard identified the following to be blocking IGAD from realizing deeper economic integration in the region; weak and uncoordinated response of IGAD’s high level governance structure to its poor governance structure and weak leadership, presence of weak secretariat, absence of ordinary summit, lack of cross-border institutions as an internal impediments, presence of political instability and armed conflicts, lack of political determination, overlapping   membership   and  the  presence  of  similar composition of import-export items as external constraints. This result agreed with the conclusion of Maru and El Fassi (2015) and Healy (2011) on the absence of coordinated governance system at IGAD level and resulted poor performance in realizing greater economic integration. Hence, the re-revitalization process should be conducted in line with the concept of multi-level governance to make the reform more effective in addressing the identified challenges. By doing so, the previously non-existing actors such as the private sectors (civil society organizations and professional, youth and women associations), will have a chance to be incorporated in the IGAD governance and leadership hierarchy in their level of representation. This opens the door for IGAD governing bodies to exercise its full mandates to conduct core strategic reforms, especially in the area of trade liberalization, expansion of foreign direct investment, establishment of cross-border trading institutions and adoption of combined import-export regulation procedures to accelerate the integration process. Furthermore, the existence of multiple actors in the governance architecture also has an advantage in addressing the aforesaid challenges by delegating activities to appropriate administrative body.  Its key merit is that the national governments and the IGAD governing body will be challenged by the newly incorporated actors within the governance framework to maximize the interest of the wider communities in the region. These multi-dimensional governance interactions have a capacity to represent the collective will of the actors in the decision-making processes at IGAD.  This, in turn, significantly improved the sense of belongingness of the communities in the wider context as well as the capacity of the actors to perform their designated responsibilities to materialize the objectives of the organization.
IGAD member states have very different economic structure and uncoordinated macroeconomic policies. This birthed for having a weak commitment in undertaking responsibilities as well as for lacking a uniform contribution in the integration scheme. This fact is expressed in their commitment in undertaking responsibilities. For instance, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are active in committing their membership fees, whereas, the rest are irregular in handling their fees. As a result, those who are active in handling fees are often dominating and directing IGAD’s activities in line with their interest, while, the rest are passive followers.  Furthermore, due to the presence of weak infrastructure link, recurring conflicts and similarity of export commodities between member states makes the region to experience the least trading transactions than the rest of RECs in the continent. This finding has similarity with the recommendations of Lee (2002) on sharing of responsibilities of states to boost infrastructural link for deeper integration. He recommended that equal weight of investment on infrastructure sector is crucial to develop trading  links.  So,  in  order  to  tackle these problems the member countries should take the lion-share in financing IGAD. This is because the centrality of actors and having a strong decision-making role in a certain bloc is associated with their contribution to the system. In this regard, IGAD member states have insignificant contribution particularly in budget allocation, while the organization is dependent on donors for its budget deficit. Hence, due to its persistent dependence on donor organizations, IGAD lacked its autonomous power to decide on the key matters of the organization.  A notable example is the initial economic objective of the organization which is nowadays more dominated by peace and security issues because of the donor’s interest. This dependence makes IGAD weak in realizing its short, medium and long-term development plans by its own. This trend should be changed in order to make the member states influential actors in the bloc.  This is because the centrality of actors is not coming from the air, rather, it emanates from owning the system. Thus, to have a full control of the IGAD the member countries should finance the overall IGAD development projects. This is a very essential step to make actors powerful enough to control the pace and direction of the integration scheme as well as crucial step to oust the involvement of the third party from the system. 
On the other venue, the major reason for lacking the role of centrality of member states at IGAD level is also associated with their poor economic performance and uncoordinated macroeconomic policies. So, applying a sector by sector integration strategy is essential to the actors more prominent than their previous arrangement. IGAD countries have low human development index with Ethiopia (0.463), Eritrea (0.440), Djibouti (0.476), Kenya (0.590), Sudan (0.502), South Sudan (0.338), Uganda (0.516), and with Somalia’s absence of significant data respectively compared to other regional blocs globally (UNDP, 2018). Thus, in order to maintain the balance sheet to pursue viable integration, implementing such kind of strategy is a good approach to a bloc like IGAD which has financial constraints to realize its objectives. However, such approaches need careful selection of priority areas to utilize the limited resources of the region in the IGAD context to speed up the integration scheme.  Later on, the remaining sectors would be financed and incorporated eventually through the process.  But on the contrary to this approach, IGAD is launching multiple projects of infrastructure, railway and road constructions at a time with limited resources. This, in turn, makes IGAD unable to finish those grand projects due to financial constraints.  In order to avoid this problem, therefore, IGAD should list out its priority areas that are essential for economic integration before financing them at a time. Then, developing and integrating other sectors in their order of importance to the scheme. This will help IGAD a lot to invest its limited resources efficiently for the proper realization of IGAD's integration programmes.
The study also indicated that there are leaders who are deriving satisfaction out of the sufferings of others in the region. This long-held belief between the political elites is a key impediment to realize successful integration in the region. In support of this result Wakwaya (2015) and Dinka and Kennes (2007) argued that the longstanding animosity and historical mistrust of the IGAD member states adversely affected their attempt to integration. Hence, to solve these challenges, thus, the representation of non-existing actors such as civil society organizations, private sectors, professional associations in the IGAD governance framework is a solution to avoid the mistrust of the political elites as well as to supplement the existing actors at IGAD level to increase the legitimacy of the organization in achieving regional integration in the region. Nevertheless, IGAD in this regard have a problem of having mass representation in its framework. It has a patrimonial governance structure. This birthed essentially the detachment of the public and private sector from IGAD in a greater scale.  The unilateral governance arrangement is indirectly proved by Maru and El Fassi (2015) by stating that the rise of developmental states in the Horn of Africa and massive involvement of civil society organizations or non-governmental organizations in governance-related matters of the region resulted interest of clash and confrontation between state and non-state actors.  As a consequence of this, IGAD member states like Ethiopia, Uganda, and Sudan ratified laws to oust the political participation of non-state actors from their domestic political system. Later on, such measures affected the participation of non-state actors at IGAD to materialize the integration scheme. In order to make IGAD for all, therefore, the previous trends should be changed and all stakeholders properly undertake their part within the framework.  By doing so, it is quite possible to make IGAD successful in achieving its regional economic integration plan.  Furthermore, in order to develop trust among the member states as well as the political elites in the region the members should establish a cross-border commission under the supervision of IGAD to narrow down the interest incompatibilities of the actors. By doing so, the commission with a separate mandate and responsibilities can work together with IGAD governing bodies to diminish the suspicion, and animosity of the member countries. The commission can also have a power to minimize the gap between the IGAD governing body and other stakeholders in a practical sense by organizing, coordinating and supervising donor sponsored development projects. Including the presentation of policies and programs of IGAD integration to the public for its effective implementation, evaluating development related projects of partners and advising IGAD leadership based on research-based facts. Such trend is also common in other RECs like the European Union. The EU has several standing committees in each area of integration arrangements to promote, as well as to address the interests of its citizens. By taking this model as a stepping ground,  IGAD  should  establish  an independent commission in its governance framework for getting regular monitoring and evaluation procedures by professionals to make its integration program successful.  In parallel, the commission by conducting awareness campaign about the essence of integration can increase the grass root participation of the IGAD community to materialize economic prosperity in the region. 
The finding also highlighted that the IGAD secretariat is facing practical challenges in exercising its mandates because of lack of autonomy within the governance framework.  Majority of informants agreed that the day to day activities of the secretariat often underwent to high level decision instead of acting accordingly to its mandate. This makes the secretariat handicapped to undertake its tasks on time. Though, the Secretariat became powerless in its defined authorities and duties to gear the member states towards the initial objectives of the bloc.  In support of this result Maru and El Fassi (2015) argued that IGAD secretariat is weak and toothless in its sphere of authorities and needs radical internal reforms of it with wide-ranging mandates and responsibilities to improve its capabilities of decision-making power. In order to make IGAD as a viable regional bloc, internal reform at IGAD particularly the secretariat as an essential step.  For the sake of gearing the institution towards achieving the objectives listed out in several policy documents, the current IGAD governance arrangement needs an inclusive structural reform. The reform should encompass at least the major governing bodies of the organization through internal restructuring of mandates and responsibilities, particularly, the secretariat. This gives freedom to the secretariat in recruiting qualified experts and minimizing political representation of member states in expertise demanding positions.
However, conducting such kind of structural reform with the existing arrangement is difficult to attain visible achievements at IGAD governance. Therefore, applying a new governance approach is quite essential to accommodate the aforementioned reforms. To actualize these reforms it is quite necessary for utilizing multi-level governance as a tool to materialize the reform in a practical sense. This is because it allows a platform to represent all the actors in the governance framework in their level of representation with a clear authority and responsibilities.  Additionally, the approach will have a capacity to create a true check and balance system of administration in order to effectuate the objectives of the bloc. More importantly, the approach is suitable for IGAD to further transform itself by placing the issue of governance at the center of its major duties. Such restructuring will open a door for civil society organizations and to many more non-state actors (such as faith-based groups, private sectors, civic associations, etc.) to come together to play a decisive role in governance promotion at IGAD.
The result also showed that  the  share  of  international donor organizations in allocation IGAD annual budget is higher than the members and this gives to them a decisive role in dictating IGAD's area of engagements.  As a result, peace and security department are more funded than social and economic affairs in the IGAD programmes. Therefore, the integration process of the region through IGAD is featured with very slow pace than the other RECs in Africa. Therefore, to change the situation, it is quite essential in making IGAD self-reliant in financing its programmes. The first and foremost steps should be adopting internal (local) funding raising mechanisms to cover the budget deficit of the organization. IGAD in this regard, is lucky to have Ethiopia in its grouping to share Ethiopia's experience of fundraising techniques in which Ethiopia is being utilized for the grand Ethiopian renaissance dam project. When the international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank) denied Ethiopia's proposal to get a loan for the construction of the grand Ethiopian renaissance dam project, the government of Ethiopia was shifted to local sources to raise the required capital for the construction. Surprisingly, the government was successful in raising the fund from local sources through taxes, donations, and government bonds. In its first phase of the campaign Ethiopians who are living abroad contributed 350 million dollars, and likewise, the public servants at home raised equivalent amount to a month of their salaries. Furthermore, private companies and even other neighboring countries like Djibouti were bought government bonds. With such fundraising systems, currently, the dam is on the verge of giving 6500 MW hydroelectric power to the nation. Hence, Ethiopia's recipe for financing the dam from bonds and taxes is one of the newly emerging ways of funding projects in Africa.   Thus, by taking this lesson from Ethiopia, IGAD can generate much more money than Ethiopia if IGAD effectively mobilizes its citizens. Compared to Ethiopia, IGAD has greater population size, many private companies and public servants within its sphere of governance. The expected role from IGAD in such circumstance would be developing a sense of belongingness of citizens on the bloc.  Later on, establishing a very transparent policy and strategy that will assure the benefits of the wider community, and explaining its essence to the citizens through a massive awareness campaign. Then, categorize the community through their respective member states and establish an independent institution who have the mandate to raise funds from the citizens, private sectors and different local faith-based organizations. With this mechanism, IGAD can cover its budget deficit from local sources like Ethiopia. However, such activities need a very high commitment from all stakeholders for its effectiveness, notwithstanding, the current IGAD arrangement is not in position to do such extraordinary activity and it needs overall restructuring to win the heart and mind of the wider  communities.  If   IGAD   does   such   reformation, raising funds would be an easy task afterward.  This gives a chance to IGAD to diminish and eventually to oust the influence and involvement of donor organizations from being involved in the IGAD sphere of activities in the region.
The way forward
Multi-level governance became essential in framing RECs governance framework after post-westphalian world as a result of the changing position of nation states and development of non-state actors in shaping the behavior pattern of governments (Marks and Hooghe, 2004). Hence, MLG has been widely adopted in restructuring governance framework of RECs as it allows equal weight to nation states and other actors including non-state actors in establishing hierarchy of governance (Marks, 1992). This elastic nature of the theory is appropriate to address the stated problems of IGAD by accommodating the non-existing actors in its governance framework (Bache and Flinders, 2004). Thus, applying multi-level governance along each layer of IGAD governance structure will give a fair representation of actors in their respective representation to delegate responsibilities for deeper economic integration.
Adopting MLG approach
As of the majority of the informants including officials of the targeted institutions, the current IGAD structure and leadership did not effectuate successful economic integration to date and they proposed urgent, but, a very calculated amendment on the framework to attain greater economic integration. In this regard, examining IGAD integration scheme with MLG is a timely and a new undertaking to indicate the way forward solutions for actualizing successful integration at the IGAD level. So, to minimize such impediments and improve the success rate of the organization, IGAD needs to re-structure its institutional setup. To realize this objective, MLG is a preferred theoretical framework to assess the contemporary dynamics of the global economic order together with IGAD’s ambition in realizing greater economic integration. As indicated above, IGAD has a long-rooted problem of decentralizing power. Hence, to re-distribute power and responsibilities along each layer of governance and to promote participation of non-state actors on its governance framework, applying MLG approach is a timely intervention for IGAD. This is because multi-level governance offers dispersion of authority across multiple jurisdictions within the governance framework of a regional bloc. This division of power among the actors in a certain level of governance is basically rooted from three basic assumptions which are; jurisdictions is delegated in a general or in a  specific tasks, authorities sometimes given in a mutually exclusive or in overlapping manner, and jurisdictions is also given with a permanent or in a fluctuating manner in order to maintain the check and balance of the decision making process of the actors within the governance framework (Marks and Hooghe, 2004). 
In order to make IGAD successful in attaining viable economic integration, adopting MLG approach to re-structure its governance architecture is very essential. Thus, IGAD as a REC should disperse jurisdictions in its multiple layers of governance to push the bloc for greater economic integration. Hence, to actualize this, IGAD should delegate power as follows:
(1) The first version could be expressed in the form of general or specific purposes in which delegated actors will exercise their authority for attaining general or specific objectives of the union for the benefits of the wider community in the region. For example, the secretariat may use such kind of power to enforce its member states to commit their annual membership fees.
(2) The second version could be prevailing in the form of mutually exclusive or overlapping manner within the governance structure. Thus, the delegated authorities may exercise such power either mutually or unilaterally to promote the interest of the mass in the bloc. Member states, in this regard, may exercise such kind of power to prevent third-party involvement in the bloc.
(3) The third version may be expressed in the form of a permanent or a fluctuating manner within the framework.  In this power arrangement, the delegated authority can exercise its power in a permanent or fixed period of time to maximize the success of the organization. For example, IGAD assembly of states and heads of government and the council of ministers or committee of ambassadors may exercise such kind of power to formulate policies, strategies and setting evaluation parameters to pass some sort of decision to make IGAD competent in the global economic order.
To effectuate the above-mentioned power distribution at IGAD integration programme applying MLG on its governance architecture is compulsory to accommodate the key actors of the scheme to realize successful integration. This is because with the current governance arrangement, IGAD is required to attain the key stages of economic integration, namely, free trade area, customs union, common market, economic union and economic and monetary union. Unarguably, it is very difficult to materialize successful economic integration without passing through those stages. However, the finding of this study indicated that IGAD is still struggling to actualize the first two of the aforesaid stages. On the contrary to the above ideas, IGAD governance architecture is lacked transparency and collective decision-making role of actors in the framework. As a result of this, its success towards materializing greater economic  integration  is  challenged  by so many factors.
Therefore, by applying MLG mode of governance among each layer of IGAD leadership, particularly in the assembly of heads of states and government, the council of ministers, the committee of ambassadors and the secretariat to evoke collective decision of actors by encompassing dense networks of public and private, individual and collective actors of the integration scheme. By doing so, it is possible to create a platform for the private sector, youth and women associations, civil society organizations in the wider governance architecture of IGAD's integration scheme to actualize a vibrant regional bloc in the Horn of Africa.
Globalization refers to a complex process and encompasses multidimensional phenomenon at a time in different levels and advancing the political, economic, social and technological capabilities of people in different parts of the world (Cable and Henderson, 1994).  Hence, by taking this idea as a good premise Ruiz Estrada (2009) argued that regionalism breaks down economic nationalism and simultaneously increases awareness of economic interdependence that is a key for actualizing deeper economic integration.  As per the above assumptions, IGAD member states are not still late to maximize the positive aspects of globalization to make their integration more successful.  However, the process needs power struggle and regulations in order to re-establish a balance of power between the actors in the scheme to enjoy the fruits of globalization. To effectuate this, there are key steps to be taken by the member states and non-states actors of the scheme. The first and foremost step is, every member country’s domestic economic policy decisions and measures should be based on the regular consultation and dialogue with other actors at IGAD level with a view to finding alternative options to accommodate the private sector and the wider community in the economy. In effect, this may lead to the diversification of economic sector among the members to maximize their benefit out of it. Eventually, such measures will pave the way for the realization of greater economic integration which is stated as the major objective of the bloc.
Secondly, trading agreements of the union with other blocs should conclude with varieties of income generating options and market protection standards. To realize this, protective measures should be taken such as fixing foreign currency fluctuations in a constant manner to make the trading transactions more stable and profitable to the member states, wider citizenry and multinational corporations. Thirdly, open up local (domestic) markets step by step for international competitors. To protect the infant industry of the region, the member states through IGAD can establish a strategy to improve the level of production and their financial capabilities before opening up the market for external competition. These measures will significantly increase the success of IGAD integration to actualize economic prosperity in the region.  In the nutshell, to accommodate the above measures, including the inputs of globalization to improve IGAD integration into a deeper economic unification, applying MLG approach at IGAD governance framework adds efficiency to the bloc to cope-up the global economic order in the pursuit of greater economy in the Horn of Africa.
Strategies to make effective MLG mode of governance
The following strategies are proposed by the researcher to make MLG model of governance effective in actualizing IGAD’s integration success.
i) Understand the regional context: Knowing the governance structure and framework of IGAD will give a chance to identify the key impediments that blocked IGAD from actualizing successful integration and are also necessary to develop a platform for the effective application of MLG model of governance at IGAD level to boost the integration scheme. To effectuate this, it is quite necessary to conduct stakeholder’s discussion at national, regional and local level with the supervision of IGAD officials to identify differences and similarities between actors towards designing of effective strategy in the direction of narrowing down their differences to effectuate MLG model of governance at IGAD level.
ii) Decentralization of power: Thus, in order to make MLG model effective at IGAD level, decision making authority will be distributed throughout the layers of governance. Hence, actors in each layer of governance will exercise defined authority from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy of the governance. This will help to devolve governance task to each layer of administration within the framework to improve the sense of belongingness of actors to the bloc. Hence, more mutually agreed decisions can be taken in to account to arrive at more mutually agreed decisions to effectuate the economic integration objectives of the union. Therefore, as part of MLG implementation system, the decision-making process is embedded in the framework of collective participation of actors.
iii) Effective participation: IGAD, in this regard, is weak to promote the participation of its citizenry in the governance framework (Abdi and Seid, 2013). However, the logic of governance refers to the open up of decision making to non-state actors with a given governance framework to invite the greater participation of the mass. In return, this maintains the power balance between the actors in the governance framework. Therefore, consultation, information exchange and active participation of the private sector, multinational corporations, civic and professional associations, and religious organizations and so on will improve the quality of the decision making process by contextualizing the regional  realities  of  a given block for deeper integration.
Thus, with the application of this universal understanding, IGAD will maximize its regional integration scheme much deeper than the current status.
iv) Designing specific objectives: To realize the success of MLG model of governance at IGAD level, the actors should try to focus on one or two very articulated objectives to realize the economic integration of the region and allocate reasonable resources to implement the model. This brings the actors to a similar level of understanding of the process to implement the objective of the bloc. In parallel, the learning process and exchange of information between actors will be one-way to boost their trust. This kind of exchange of knowledge with a similar level of understanding offers ample chances of equal contribution to the success of the model to improve IGAD’s integration scheme.
v) Sharing the lows as well as the highs: To make MLG approach successful in the IGAD context, the actors will share any barriers or lessons they learned in their domestic affairs as well as any success of their effort to improve their economy. Furthermore, taking a lesson about what went wrong, why and how this was overcomed is an effective exercise for adopting MLG model at IGAD level for the success of the bloc. 
vi) Establishing standing technical committee: The ultimate goal of establishing a standing technical committee at IGAD level is to delegate responsibility for the guidance of specific technical issues including the design of a coordinated program of studies to effectuate deeper economic integration among IGAD member states. Hence, summits of IGAD will have a service of the standing technical committee of pre-eminent experts with global experience in the management of regional integration with the objective of providing guidance towards the success of the organization to actualize viable economic unification. Moreover, reviewing proposed studies and their progresses and identifying issues affecting IGAD’s effort towards realizing successful integration that need to bring to the agenda of the organization and where appropriate to the actors. In the nutshell, the committee is responsible for promoting the generation and distribution of technical information about all aspects of IGAD economic integration within the bloc. Furthermore, the committee provides research-based alternative solutions and appropriate forums through which members and key non-state actors of the bloc can collectively evaluate policies, strategies, and experiences of other RECs to actualize greater economic integration at IGAD region.



IGAD as a regional bloc is operating with several challenges that overdue  the  organization  from  attaining deeper economic integration. The objective of this study was to show the ways in which IGAD can actualize deeper economic integration in the region though best is yet to come. Qualitative data collection approaches (interview and literature) as primary and secondary data sources were employed. This study revealed that MLG model is a suitable approach to make IGAD successful in realizing greater economic integration. Decentralization of power, effective participation, designing specific objectives, sharing the lows as well as the highs, and establishing standing technical committee were the main strategies to effectuate MLG model on IGAD integration context. The major internal IGAD integration impediments were the presence of poor governance structure and weak leadership, the existence of weak secretariat, the absence of annual meeting and lack of cross-border institution. Whereas, the external hindering factors were the existence of longstanding political instability, armed conflicts and emergence of terrorist groups, lack of political determination, overlapping membership, similarity of import-export goods and the absence of uniformity among member states in undertaking responsibilities. In the nutshell, IGAD regional integration process is slow in its pace and it needs urgent re-revitalization with the concept of MLG model. In order to make IGAD viable regional bloc re-revitalization of the IGAD governance structure with the concept of MLG model, having ordinary summit to address strategic agenda of the organization and  drawing lessons from the EU integration process as the EU decentralized power along its layers of governance structure were recommended. 


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.



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