SADC, AU can learn from the EU - Baum

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 18 April 2017   |   By Kabelo Adamson
Baum Baum

Blocs such as SADC, ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) can learn a thing or two from one of the most successful blocs – European Union (EU); it emerged this week at a public lecture at the University of Botswana (UB). The EU, which comprises 28 member states, ensures that parties to the Union enjoy the same privileges in areas of trade, travel and others. It has been hailed as the best model despite suffering set-back in recent years due to the withdrawal of members, notably the United Kingdom (UK). At the lecture held at UB on Tuesday under the topic, “A Bridge over Troubled Waters – The European Union in Times of Resurgent Nationalism”, EU Head of Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Alexander Baum said for regional blocs to work in a way that they were set to, government must be committed and there should be clarity and vision. Baum said it is important to maintain principles such as solidarity and willingness to compromise as those will ensure working together for a common goal. A lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at UB, Professor Emmanuel Botlhale said it was important to find a common ground in order to accommodate both nationalism and sovereignty interests when dealing with issues of regional integration. Botlhale said integration can be built through killing nationalism and said it is important to find a common ground. He hailed regional integration as the best thing, cautioning that Botswana is too small to compete hence working with its peers in the region would be most logical thing to do. Some of the things that are unique to the EU include the use of the adaption of a single currency, the Euro among the member states as well as eased travel with no Visas required among the parties while a single Visa allows travellers from outside to travel among the 28 countries with no need to acquire another one. Despite the AU’s existence, many African citizens still need to apply for a Visa when travelling to other countries within the continent and these are said to be examples that the continent could benchmark on.