A multilevel analysis of public attitudes toward regional integration in Africa

Nganje, Fritz
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This study aimed to analyse the determinants of public attitudes toward regional integration in Africa. Mixed effects binary logistic regression was used to test the hypothesis that socio-economic factors are the most important predictors of public attitudes toward regional integration in Africa. Data for the study was sourced mainly from Afrobarometer’s round 6 survey. The results of the regression analysis confirm the central hypothesis of the study that socio-economic factors predominantly explain the attitudes that the African public holds toward regional integration policies and institutions. For instance, while socio-economic status correlates positively with a favourable attitude towards regional integration policies and institutions, being a citizen of a wealthy country reduces the odds that an individual would support regional integration or the institutions that promote it. Theoretically, our findings are in consonance with research conducted in the context of the European integration project, which has explained public attitudes toward the European Union and its policies mainly from a utilitarian perspective. With regard to their policy implications, the findings and conclusion of this study reinforce the need for a bottom-up and developmental approach to regional integration in Africa, recognizing that the more ideological impulses that inspired earlier forms of regionalism no longer have a strong appeal on a continent characterised by extensive socio-economic, political, and ideological diversity.
A research report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the field of e-Science in the Faculty of Humanities University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022