political revue


Year XL, 1998, Number 1 - Page 72



Federalism, Regionalisation and Globalisation. Africa.
Federalism is a term which has taken on different connotations in different contexts. Scholars of federalism have also agreed to differ on details. However, it is generally agreed that federalism is essentially a system of government which reflects compromises in a multinational state. It originates from the desire on the part of the associating members to form a union without necessarily obliterating their identities at subnational levels.[1] Basically, federalism is a compromise solution in a multinational state between two types of self-determination — the determination to maintain a supranational framework of government which on the one hand guarantees security for all in the nation-state, and on the other protects the self-determination of component groups which seek to retain their individual identities. It is an attempt to reflect diverse political, social, cultural and economic interests within a framework of broader unity.[2] As Shridath Ramphal, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth once aptly observed, federalism presupposes “the need for cooperation in some things coupled with a right to separate action in others. Only federalism fulfils the desire for unity where it co-exists with a determination not to smother local identity and local power”.[3]
Very often there are modifications in the relations between these two types of self-determination. If the political pendulum swings towards the federal centre, this is an indication that centripetal forces are more dominant in the political arena. On the other hand, there may be a swing of the pendulum in favour of subnational units and the consolidation of subnational identities — a reflection of the dominant presence of centrifugal forces in the political terrain. Over time, as members of the political community come to understand one another and reach compromises as they manage their conflicts, these two types of self-determination are modified accordingly. Thus, the basic foundation of federalism is nationalism — even though this does come in two forms. At times, the pressures of federalism are such that they push for the creation of a union in the absence of accompanying pressures for real unity among the component units of the federation.
While it is evident that the foundations of federalism must be laid in nationalism, “it cannot be ignored that at the heart of nationalism lies the concept of self-determination. It is, however, a concept of double application, particularly in a federal context for, in relation to federalism, secession is the claimed concomitant of self-determination which can therefore help to destroy federalism just as it serves to build it”.[4]
A similar point was made by the former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau when he asserted that the principle of self-determination which makes federalism necessary also makes it rather unstable. If nationalism is relied upon as a glue to hold a unitary nation-state together, much more nationalism would therefore be required in the case of a federal nation-state.[5]
Conflict is a natural element of the existence of all states. It tests the strength or reveals the fragility of the state and creates the basis for future adjustments. However, conflicts beyond certain thresholds are detrimental to the very survival of the state because they threaten the consensual basis of the association. Federalism, as Dan Elazar correctly observed, is a combination of self-rule with shared rule, which takes cognisance of diversity, limits on powers, and agreement among members to pursue mutual interest through consensus and compromise.
But there is a confederal variant of federal-type government. Confederal governments, most of which have, in the past, failed at nation-state level, emphasise the need for central government to retain, for the mutual benefit of its component units, only a few delegated functions. These component units may decide, for example, to vest in the central government powers of defence, (protection), roads, customs, immigration and railways. They would then retain other powers. In the history of confederations, the component units have usually been stronger than the central governments, with mutual fears of domination preventing the emergence of a powerful central government. However, at international level, where the sovereignty and autonomy of states are involved, there is increased support for confederal ideas which often form the basis for the creation of regional or functional organisations. Ivo Duchacek[6] has argued that while the European Union can be considered a regional confederal association, it is intergovernmental organisations such as the UN or the UPU which provide an example of the functional dimensions of confederalism.
These regional and functional organisations have at least two characteristic confederal features — i) “an avowed need for cross-boundary regulation and cooperation”, and ii) “opposition to a federal merger which would result in a delegation of significant taxing and executive powers to a common authority”.[7] As Duchacek rightly put it, “An important ingredient of this opposition is the fear lest common authority fall under the domination by the most powerful components of the system”.[8]
In relation to the current debate over the European Union, between “Confederal Unit” and “Bureaucratic Federalism,” Dan Elazar opines that the federal principle, initially hidden within the European Community in the form of functionalism, is now being openly discussed as such. Federalism, in old-new forms such as confederation, federacy, associated statehood and autonomy, is fast becoming Europe’s way. This new way provides political, social and cultural autonomy for even more polities than could be accommodated in the traditional state while providing for greater interstate economic cooperation, political cooperation and personal liberty than the old system allowed.[9]
While the struggle on the level of ideas goes on, it can be argued that, like federalism at nation-state level, federalism at European Union (EU) level would experience, over time, adjustments between supranational self-determination (here representing centripetalism) and national self-determination (centrifugalism). The kind of association which would then emerge in the European Union would partly depend on the level of mutual mistrust among its members and the exigencies of globalisation.
Regionalisation is a term often used to denote the existence of territories which have a specific vocation. Thus, within the nation-state one can refer to regions, provinces or subnational states. In addition, one can refer to regional zones within a nation-state, such as the forest or savanna economic regions of a nation-state which may actually include a number of political/administrative regions, states or provinces. The process of regionalisation can also mean the integration or association of sovereign nation-states in a particular region of the world for specific purposes. Thus, the European Economic Community and the Economic Community of West African States are examples of supranational or regional organisations within the global setting. This definition of regionalisation, for our purposes, is used throughout this paper.
The term globalisation refers to the relative liberalisation and homogenisation of the globe caused by the technological revolutions that have taken place since the 1940s. The global or world economy is being liberalised rapidly. There is a “widening and deepening of international flows of trade, finance and information, in a single global market”.[10] It is assumed that the liberalisation of national and global markets enhances the free-flows of trade, finance and information, thus promoting “growth and human welfare”.
But is this necessarily so? The global transition to the 21st century is marked by a technological revolution. There is the movement from cords to fibre optics; from microcards to microchips; the transformation of clock time into the aggressive concept of time as a commodity. The global system, on the eve of the 21st century, is entering the age of the information superhighway where computer and communication technology, microchips and fibre optics are converging to promote computer mediated networks. With computer and electronic hardware and software systems linked to external data bases and communication networks, the user can communicate and transmit data and information to organisations within or across national boundaries. Integrated services digital networks even allow, in the best equipped hospitals, the transmission of ultrasound scans.[11]
Subscribers to the Internet can use the network for E-mail, file transfer, research and even advertising.[12] Computer pornography has had a profound impact on already declining moral standards in many societies around the globe. Maybe John Herz[13] was right when, in the 1950s, he envisaged the “demise of the nation-state”. The implication of all this is that those actors in the global system who possess these skills have a head start over those who do not. They can penetrate the boundaries of the nation-state and make a real mockery of the sovereignty of nations. Paradoxically, technological revolution has undermined the sovereignty of nations and violated the privacy of the individual and groups, and this has occurred at a point in time when the sovereignty of many African states is still very fragile.
The visual and air waves of the global system are now being ruled, on the eve of the 21st century, by various satellite networks which, all the time, are transmitting programmes and material, across national boundaries, affecting or changing the values and culture of many people. The culture of violence transmitted across borders from a country like the United States has taken its toll on the value of human life in Nigeria. Like everything else, man is becoming a commodity in the marketplace. From the “Coca-colonisation” of the world, we have reached the “CNN-isation” of the world. American values, politics and business systems are being broadcast powerfully across nations. Western (especially American) values of democracy, human rights, sound market economy and life style are being disseminated around the globe as models. In the view of non Western countries there has indeed been an attempt, successful at that, to homogenise the world from a Western perspective. The West is thus able to determine the politics of the international banks for reconstruction and development, otherwise known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Technological skills are giving, to those who possess them, new powers which will make military powers obsolete or only marginally important in the 21st century.
In addition to these trends, which throw into question the relevance of states, there is an on-going paradox. While there are, within the nation-state, explosions of cultural identity (ethnic, racial, religious and so on) and self-determination, national sovereignty is threatened as multinational corporations penetrate national boundaries showing little or no awareness of, or regard for local conditions or jurisdictions. Indeed states seem to have become “too big for small things, and too small for the big”.[14]
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its annual Human Development Report of 1997 noted that the big things pose enormous challenges for international governance — challenges related to the growing interdependence of countries and people as well as the persistent impoverishment of much of the world. While the world has shrunk, the mechanisms for managing the system in a sustainable way for the benefit of all have lagged behind. The accelerating process of globalisation is expanding global opportunities without distributing them equitably.[15]
As the report concluded, “Today’s global integration is wiping away national borders and weakening national policies. A system of global policies is needed to make markets work for people, not people for markets”.[16]
In the current context of globalisation and the construction of a global hamlet, what administrative framework can be established to control fiscal measures and market forces which tend to go beyond the control of states? Is regionalisation of the world through EU, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), ECOWAS, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) an attempt by states to accept the reality that nation-states are too small for big things?
What is the future of regionalisation or regionalism in the context of globalism? What federal frameworks provide the right compromises and media for coping with the challenges of globalism? How do we balance supranational self-determination with nation-state nationalism? To what extent do crises of identity at subnational level lead to new dimensions of conflict? Is the globalisation process an all-out good for all countries and all peoples? What effect will current globalisation have on Africa? To what extent is there an emergence of regionalism in Africa? Is the federal solution acceptable to African states as they face the challenges of globalism in the 21st century?
In answer to these questions, we suggest that:
i) as nation-states face the challenges posed by globalisation, regionalism has become politically essential;
ii) regional organisation can only be managed through a federal-type solution;
iii) an appropriate federally-derived compromise needs to be established in order to manage the tensions between supranational self-determination and national self-determination, which takes cognisance of subnational demands for self-determination;
iv) there are other forms of tension generated within the international system, accentuated by the process of globalisation. Policies are needed to render globalisation sensitive to human or people’s needs; and
v) while federalism provides some of the conditions necessary to create regional responses to globalisation, it is nevertheless full of seeds of discord, and these must be addressed.
Globalisation and Regionalism.
There is no doubt from the above discussion that globalisation has tended to drive human societies in various countries towards a homogenisation of tastes and towards common values. The globalisation process has not only eroded profusely the boundaries of nation-states, it has also uncovered their weaknesses. States are now incapable of controlling effectively the ever-expanding parameters of consumption, the dynamics of market forces, and the activities of multinational corporations.
Therefore, the interdependence of states has made regional organisation politically imperative. Regionalisation is an attempt to compensate for the smallness of the state in coping with big problems. It is the widening (through association with other nation-states) of the parameters of capacity and capability of the nation-state so that it is able to cope with the vast challenges of the current international setting.
Paradoxically, while globalisation tends to sweep away all barriers to the formation of a single world market, increases the volume of trade, and expands the parameters of consumption,[17] the reaction of nation-states has, in the main, been protectionist. Thus, in 1968, the European Community (EC) took the lead, establishing an economic bloc which would expand beyond the 15 member countries to include, eventually, all the countries of Western Europe, except Russia, in a frontier-free neighbourhood upholding the four basic principles of free movement of people, free flow of goods, free flow of services and free flow of capital.[18]
In 1993, when the European Union (EU) came into force, it had a population of 345 million and a combined GDP of 6.5 trillion dollars.[19] In what clearly seemed a reaction to developments within the European Community, the United States instigated the formation, together with Canada and Mexico, of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA aims to create, within 15 years, a free trade area embracing 370 million Americans, Canadians and Mexicans with a combined annual GDP of 6.7 trillion dollars and a three-way merchandise trade of 270 billion dollars per year.[20] There are also plans to include Brazil, Argentina and Chile in the near future. This “war” of economic blocs caught on very quickly as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which was formed in 1967 decided, in 1992, to set up the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).[21] The Americans also sought to maximise their advantage by moving to consolidate closer economic ties with ASEAN, Japan and Australia to form the Pacific Basin in 1994.
Another example of this trend is the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), formed in 1985 and includes Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal; and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) which was formed in 1992 by 12 former Soviet Republics is also an economic bloc in its own right.
This trend of emergence of economic blocs or regions leads us to draw two conclusions; first that the Asia-Pacific area has clearly become the centre of attraction (which is well in line with the notion that the next century will be the Pacific century). Second, that the rest of the Third World, but particularly Africa, does not feature anywhere in this reorganisation of the global economic landscape. This is no doubt a reflection of the huge gap between the rich economies on the one hand, and the very poor and decaying economies of Africa on the other.
In Africa, the first regional organisation, the East African Community, disintegrated in the early 1960s after independence, mainly for political reasons. In 1975, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed. While this organisation still has many obstacles to overcome, it has demonstrated its determination to maintain peace and stability in the region. ECOMOG, the military monitoring wing of ECOWAS, was set up to restore peace in war-torn Liberia. Not only has it succeeded in doing this, it also oversaw an election in July 1997 which led to the instatement of democracy in Liberia after seven years of civil strife. ECOWAS now has to face the problem of the democratisation and stabilisation of the sub-region in order to form the basis for a more intense form of economic relations. There is also an attempt in Eastern and Southern Africa to form a regional bloc through the South African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). This is still too young to assess, but it seems gradually to be making its mark in the area.
All this regionalisation of the international system represents, in part, means of coping with the new challenges of globalisation. Essentially, what we are seeing are supranational organisations which require intergovernmental and bureaucratic frameworks. They also raise the problem of how conducive compromises can be reached among different levels of nationalism or self-determination. Let us now turn to this issue.
Federalism and Regionalisation of the Globe.
Globalisation no doubt creates challenges for nation-states and even regional blocs. Lucio Levi aptly describes some of these challenges: “international market forces are escaping the control of states, whose monetary and fiscal instruments of regulation of the economy have progressively lost their effectiveness... In short, globalisation has dug an even deeper divide between the state which has remained national, and the market, which has become global...The sharpest contradiction of our epoch lies in the fact that the problems on which the destiny of the people depend, like the control of security and the economy, or protection of the environment, have assumed international dimensions, a terrain where there are no democratic institutions, while democracy still stops at state borders that define a context within which only decisions of secondary importance are taken”.[22]
While these contradictions are glaring and provide new challenges for regional groups, they raise the issue of conflict management and coordination. One of the first problems faced by members of a regional organisation is how to establish the right compromise mechanism in order to strike a balance between two types of nationalism — supranational and nation-state. Very often, human acceptance of the loss of essential aspects of sovereignty, such as a secure border, lags behind the reality. There is also the fear that the identity of the nation-state may be lost within a supranational framework, especially if there are one or two dominant nation-states. The reactions of nation-states to the Maastricht Treaty and to the creation of a common European currency illustrate how sensitive this issue is.
Herein lies the utility of a federal-type solution to the problems of integration. Federalism not only provides for shared powers, it also provides for shared rule among two or more tiers of government. It guarantees, constitutionally, the powers and functions of the federalised supranational centre, while protecting the identity of the nation-state and the powers which, by mutual agreement, it retains. There is no doubt that the nation-state must relinquish certain political, legal, economic and environmental powers, but its sovereignty in other areas must be protected and guaranteed.
Federalism is also sensitive to diversity — in economic levels, ethnic composition, race and so on. It is sensitive to disparities among the nation-states which belong to the supranational organisations. Federalism provides an opportunity for component units to form a union (without necessarily forming a unitary state) in order to achieve certain ends or goals. The identities of nation-states need not be obliterated, and thus their fears of loss of identity and autonomy are assuaged.
However, in the case of the European Union, there are still problems to be overcome. There are those who would prefer to have a federation of Europe, essentially an out and out state, while others would prefer a confederal solution. While the struggle goes on, and only the future can tell what will emerge, it is pertinent to note, however, that as in all human affairs, as mutual trust develops among the component parts of the Union, as greater levels of interaction lead to greater understanding and better mechanisms for conflict resolution, so the opportunities for adjustment of the federal pendulum, as it swings between centripetal and centrifugal forces, increase.
In Africa, even at national level, few countries operate federal governments. Currently, the only federation is Nigeria. South Africa has a constitution with federal features but does not explicitly call it “‘federal.” Kenya under the Majimbo Constitution had a federal constitution, but it went unitary in 1964. Cameroon abrogated its federal constitution in 1972. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland disintegrated in the process of decolonisation and liberation struggles. The Sene-Gambian Federation collapsed due, among other things, to an outburst of nationalism.
Why have African leaders alienated themselves from federal government, or indeed avoided it like a plague, even though federalism currently provides a good medium for effecting appropriate compromises within its culturally plural milieu? The new leaders of independent African states found, after assumption of office, that while the colonial governors had seemed omnipotent, they in fact had enjoyed very fragile bases of power. The fragility of the central authority, and the need to consolidate power and authority meant that political structures which were mobilisable were seen as more advantageous than structures which exhorted intergroup reconciliation. A unitary system of government emphasises “penetration” and “control” of subnational units and centralisation of authority.
In this system, subnational units must look to the centre for their power and resources. The crises of authority experienced by the elite induced them to opt for a unitary solution to the problem of state-building in their ethnically plural states. The leaders at the centre were too preoccupied with the consolidation of the central authority to concede any sharing of powers and functions with subnational units.
Secondly, it was feared that in ethnically plural states federalism crystallised subnational identities and often sharply defined the parameters of operation and degree of loyalty of the component units. Federalism was thus seen as a crisis escalator rather than as a crisis dampener. Inter-ethnic and other dichotomies supposedly become more pronounced under a federal system. In a way, the fears of the elite were genuine. After all, federalism is a paradoxical medical drug which can be purchased on any political market. Just as it provides for the security and survival of the nation because of the very compromises it is capable of effecting, so it safeguards the self-determination of parochial groups. But as pointed out earlier, in reference to the words of Shridath Ramphal, this can lead to secession and thus destroy the federal state.
As we suggested earlier, federalism, while serving as a mechanism for effecting compromises in a multinational state, is full of seeds of discord. The extent to which a federal system survives depends on the ability of political elites in a country to maintain a delicate balance between centripetal and centrifugal forces. Excessive pulls in favour of centrifugal forces may herald disintegration, as the Igbo secession in Nigeria demonstrated. Yet, excessive pulls towards the centre may challenge the very existence of federalism and the cocoon of relative security it provides for the various groups in the society. The bloody riots in northern Nigeria in response to the introduction of a unitary form of government under General Ironsi in May 1966 provide a good example of this, while the current Ethiopian and Sudanese civil wars perhaps illustrate this point even more dramatically.
In the presence of an already fragile central authority, African leaders did not want to take on the task of creating a delicate federal balance between centripetal and centrifugal pulls. While the issue of consolidation of authority was related to state-building, the fear of exacerbating conflict at intergroup or horizontal level was directly related to the issue of unity or nation-building. Many African leaders felt that a unitary system of government provided a more favourable framework for the effective building of nations out of states. They would argue, for example, that the Shona-Ndebele ethnic problems in Zimbabwe would be more sharply defined under a federal framework. Currently, Zimbabwe runs a unitary system of government and both groups are represented in the same political party.
Erstwhile political rivals, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe sorted out their quarrels and mobilised, within a single political party, their ethnic groups which had been at war with each other. Under a federal system, both leaders would have sought political support from their ethnic groups as they competed for national political offices.
While the federal solution is attractive, the political economy of federalism has made it expensive and politically cumbersome. The cost of maintaining federal and state executives, legislatures and bureaucracies as well as local government councils and their bureaucracies is prohibitive. In addition, the need for bureaucratic outfits for these subnational units calls for the training of skilled workers. With the problems of welfare services, economic growth and other demands on the public treasury, the federal solution was seen by African leaders as expensive. This was one of Kenyatta’s reasons for alienating himself from federalism which he saw as “rigid, expensive and unworkable”.
There is no doubt, however, that federal solutions in Ethiopia, the Sudan and Zaire would at least have helped to provide some form of security for various subnational units while they cooperated at national level. African leaders are well aware that subregional integration depends on a federal framework to protect the identity and sovereignty of nation-states and to reassure smaller countries as to the intentions of bigger countries. In ECOWAS, Nigeria, while assuming most of the financial burden, has been wary of taking actions which would confirm the fears of the smaller nations. In fact, the smallest member of the organisation provided its chairman for a year — Alhaji Dauda Jawara, the former president of the Gambia.
ECOWAS is also troubled by linguistic divisions. The English speaking and French-speaking divide is still alive and members are sensitive to it. While the headquarters of ECOWAS is in Nigeria, francophone states are, with one exception, favoured by the location of the body’s executive secretaryship. South Africa is certainly a dominant nation in the SADDC, and only the future can tell how the New South Africa will lead this organisation.
Generally, however, for Africa, the greatest paradox is that of seeking to protect national sovereignty in an age of globalisation, one in which national borders have been rendered fragile and porous. There is no doubt that, at some point, members of a regional organisation must adjust its federal pendulum to swing in favour either of supranationalism or of state nationalism. The dominant feeling at any point in time would determine the type of federal solution needed. Perhaps this is where we find the European Union now. There is no doubt that gradually the pendulum is being regulated. After all, quite some distance has been covered between the EEC and the EU.
Globalisation and Developing Countries.
Globalisation has produced opportunities as well as serious risks. No doubt globalisation “has its winners and its losers”. With the expansion of trade and foreign investment, developing countries have seen gaps among themselves widen. Meanwhile, in many industrial countries, unemployment has roared to levels not seen since the 1930s, and income equality levels not recorded since the last century”.[23]
As the UNDP Human Development Report of 1997 observed: “A rising tide of wealth is supposed to lift all boats. But some are more seaworthy that others. The yachts and ocean liners are indeed rising in response to new opportunities, but the rafts and rowboats ate taking on water — and some are sinking fast”.[24]
There is no doubt that globalisation increases the potential of nation-states but it also increases the risks to some nations by exposing domestic producers to very volatile global markets and capital flows that are very large in relation to the domestic economy.
While the Uruguay Round of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) was expected to increase global income by an estimated $212-$510 billion between 1995-2001, the least developed countries stand to lose up to $600 million a year, and sub-Saharan Africa $1.2 billion.[25] Losses in foreign exchange will translate into pressures on income. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, especially, will be less able to sustain imports and become more dependent on aid which is already stretched to the limit.
Similarly, under the Uruguay Round, protection of patents and other intellectual rights have received an extended life. Technology transfer has thus become more expensive, as compared to similar situations in the 19th Century or the 20th Century after the Second World War — for developed countries are now enforcing more stringent regulations.
The loss to developing countries from unequal access to trade, labour and finance was estimated at $500 billion a year, about ten times their annual income in foreign aid.[26]
It is therefore clear that the process of globalisation is moving on apace, “but largely for the benefit of the more dynamic and powerful countries of the North and South”.[27] Even patterns of consumption are shifting, with luxury cars, electronic devices, soft drinks, and others, fast becoming part of daily life in developing countries — with the absence of such things creating a heightened sense of deprivation. The net result is a flood of imports and a negative balance of trade in many developing countries. Homogenisation of tastes without the relative homogenisation of capabilities is one of the greatest problems of globalisation, characterised as it is by a high level of liberalisation.
There is no doubt that globalisation is widely beneficial, but the control of questions determining the future of peoples, having escaped democratic institutions, remains firmly in the hands of the great powers and gigantic multinational capitalist corporations.[28] In anxiety and desperation, nations are aggregating through regional organisations, but they lack the courage to establish “federal” structures, fearful of erosion of their sovereignty. In an era of inevitable liberalisation, which is expected to yield economic benefits, nations are responding by adopting subtle measures of collective protectionism to assuage their anxiety and insecurity.
In view of this situation, it might be suggested that: i) the United Nations Economic and Social Council should lead the way in establishing guidelines, for adoption by the General Assembly, to govern the role of big nations, multinationals and other powers in the process of globalisation; it should also adopt guidelines designed to counter aggressive protectionism by regional groups, while promoting the benefits of globalisation; ii) the UN, through its agencies, should study, recommend and implement appropriate measures for protecting the weak and the poor in the global system against the adverse effects of globalisation. This may ,even include fiscal transfers across regional boundaries for purposes of equalisation. After all, poverty anywhere is poverty everywhere; iii) appropriate political institutions should be set up at international level (preferably under the auspices of the UN) to monitor the new wave of interdependence among nations; it should also address inequality as well as issues of peace arising from economic unbalances.
Even then, it is clear that at global level a confederal framework of nations is important to ensure that some order is retained amidst what may turn out, if we are not careful, to be apparent disorder. At regional level, it is becoming clear that confederal arrangements for running regional organisations may prove not to be an adequate response to globalisation. On the other hand, nations are unwilling to lose their sovereignty to become part of a supranational organisation which could be used by a powerful member, or a group of powerful members to their disadvantage.
It does seem that, depending on the regional organisation, the institutional framework is destined to move gradually from old confederal types towards loose federal structures as mutual confidence grows among members. One thing that certainly emerges clearly is the contradictory nature of the response to the exigencies of globalisation through collective regional protectionist policies. It is short-sighted and will be short-lived. Certainly, a global mediatory set of institutions is politically essential if the current globalisation process is not to create a global jungle. We must all accept responsibility for our collective future.
It is argued, in this paper, that facing the various challenges posed by globalisation, nation-states have found themselves to be too small to cope with these big challenges and regionalisation has therefore become a collective response to them. Yet, in the management of these regional organisations, nation-states are torn between two types of self-determination (two types of nationalism) — the need for a supranational response to globalisation, and the desire to protect national sovereignty and identity, rendered fragile and porous in an era of technological revolution. Thus, the debates over the federal-type solutions to the problems of managing regional organisations will continue for some time yet.
It is argued, therefore, that an appropriate federally-derived compromise needs to be established in order to manage the tensions between supranational self-determination and national self-determination, while also acknowledging subnational demands for self-determination.
In addition, illustrations have been given of other forms of tension within the international system, tensions which are accentuated by the process of globalisation and by the need to develop appropriate policies, and to establish global institutions which would both render the process of globalisation sensitive to human or people’s needs and address the problem of inequality among regions and nations.
As the global village shrinks into a global hamlet, more complex organisations and institutions are needed to monitor and regulate the new wave of interdependence, in order to provide a safe and comfortable world for all. Ignorance of, or lack of concern over the side effects of globalisation may, ultimately, be universally harmful. Even those who are strong and apparently comfortable now may find that they have won only a pyrrhic victory over others.

[1] See K.C. Wheare, Federal Government (1963 edition), London, Oxford University Press 1964; Ronald Watts, Administration in Federal Systems, London, Hutchinson Education, 1970; Publius, The Journal of Federalism (Fall 1991) vol. 21, no. 4. See also, Dan Elazar (ed.) Federal and Political Integration, Ramat Gran, Israel, Turtledove Publishing, 1997, J. Isawa Elaigwu, The Nigerian Federation: Its Foundation and Future Prospects, Abuja, NCIR, 1993.
[2] Please note that while Nigeria was politically unitary under the British, it was, administratively, very much decentralised. While Britain always preferred to bestow a form of federalism on its colonies, there is no doubt that it was because of mutual suspicion and fears of domination among Nigerian groups that Nigeria opted for federalism between 1951 and 1959.
[3] Shridath Ramphal, “Keynote Address”, in A.B. Akinyemi,. P.D. Cole and Walter Ofonagoro (eds.), Readings on Federalism, Lagos, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 1979.
[4] Ibid. p. xxii.
[5] Pierre Trudeau, quoted by Shridath Ramphal, op. cit., p. xxii.
[6] Ivo Duchacek, “Consociations of Fatherlands: The Revival of Confederal Principles and Practices”, in The Journal of Federalism, 12 (Fall 1982).
[7] Ibid., pp. 137-138.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Dan Elazar, Federalism and The Way to Peace, Reflections paper n. 13, Kingston, Ontario, Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, 1994, p. 8.
[10] United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1997, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 82.
[11] La Porte, E. Ronald et al. “Global Public Health and the Information Superhighway”, in British Medical Journal, 308, 1651-52.
[12] Michael Batty and Bob Ban, “The Electronic Frontier: Exploring and Mapping Cyberspace”, in Futures 26 (7), pp. 699-712.
[13] John Herz, International Politics in the Atomic Age (1959), and The Territorial State Revisited: Reflections on the Future of the Nation-state, in James N. Rosenau (1969).
[14] UNDP, Human Development Report 1997, cit., p. 91.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Lucio Levi, “Globalization and International Democracy”, in The Federalist Debate (1997), n. 1, p. 2. See also J. Isawa Elaigwu, From Might to Money: The Changing Dimensions. Global Transition to the 21st Century, Kuru, NIPSS, 1995.
[18] Rasheeduddin Khan, “Experiments with Confederations: South Asia”, paper presented at the International Association of Centres for the Study of Federalism (IACFS) Conference, From Statism to Federalism, at the Centre for the Study of Federalism, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, September 11-13,1995, p. 9.
Also M. Butter, Europe: More than a Continent (London, 1986), E. Wistrich, After Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Two: The United States of Europe (London, 1989), l.M. Buchanan, K. O. Poehl, V. Curzon (et al.) Europe’s Constitutional Future, London, Institute of Economic Affairs, 1990, and From Single Market to European Union, Brussels, Commission of the European Communities, 1992.
[19] Douglas M. Brown, “NAFTA, Federalism and Integration: Exploring the North American Model”, paper presented at the International Association of Centres for the Study of Federalism (lACFS) Conference, From Statism to Federalism, at the Centre for the Study of Federalism, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, September 11-13, 1995, p. 9. For further reading, see A.R. Riggs and Tom Velk (eds.) Beyond NAFTA: An Economic, Political and Sociological Perspective, Vancouver, Fraser Institute 1993; Rod Dobell and Michael Newfeld (eds.) Beyond NAFTA: The Western Hemisphere Interface, Lanceville, B.C., Oolichan Books, 1993.
[20] Karl H. Fry, “North American Federalism, NAFTA and Foreign Economic Relations”, in Bertus de Villiers (ed.) Evaluating Federal Systems, Dordrecht and Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994.
[21] ASEAN includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, all five of which are peninsular and island states located in South East Asia.
[22] Lucio Levi, op. cit., p. 2.
[23] UNDP, Human Development Report 1997, cit., p. 82.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Ibid.
[26] UNDP, Human Development Report 1992, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992.
[27] UNDP, Human Development Report 1997, cit., p. 87.
[28] Lucio Levi, op. cit., p. 2.



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