Regionalism is essential for understanding politics in Africa, and to some extent even the everyday lives of many people on the continent. Yet regionalism in Africa is often conceived too narrowly. Existing research focuses extensively on the African Union and a limited set of established regional organizations (ROs) - such as the Economic Community of West African States or the Southern African Development Community – and many scholars view these ROs as weak, underdeveloped or even as 'failures'. This chapter opens up for a more diverse empirical reality and a broader set of theoretical perspectives. Empirically, the chapter considers a wide range of different types of ROs as well as the diverse links between state and non-state societal actors. Theoretically, the chapter goes beyond the conventional top-down, state-centric theories that currently dominate the debate. In so doing, it provides alternative perspectives on the logics and achievements of regionalism in Africa, as well as the challenges it faces. The chapter concludes by sketching avenues for future research and how insights from Africa can contribute to the study of comparative regionalism and global governance writ large.
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