Advancing Regional Integration through the Free Movement of Persons in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
The level at which the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has managed to regulate the free movement of persons, so as to reduce or completely eliminate, rigorous administrative requirements poses a challenge in so far as the ease of services supply is concerned. The Draft Protocol on the Facilitation on the Movement of Persons of 2005, remains inoperative, leaving national immigration laws to regulate the movement of people in the region. This lack of progress may indicate a lack of political will towards creating an effective large-scale integrated community. Intra-regional trade in aspects relating to services in the SADC is at a low as will be seen in the background and introductory section of this paper. This paper seeks to argue for the adoption of a less restrictive approach towards movement of people as a strategy to further boost regional trade in the SADC. The underlying logic and hypothesis of this paper is that in a way similar to the free trade in goods, the movement of persons can stimulate economic development by furthering economic activities like services supply and can therefore encourage deeper integration in the SADC. Consequently,facilitating the movement of people becomes a crucial and central point of discussion in this paper and is integral to the regional integration process and discourse to further trade and integration in the SADC.
Keywords: Regional Integration, Intra-Regional Trade, Trade in Services, Movement of People, Economic Development, SADC.