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The rise of regulation is perhaps one of the most critical transformations of the capitalist system. Not surprisingly, this development has triggered a surge in the interest in regulation in social and political sciences since the 1990s. A contested notion, regulation can denote different meanings and can be understood in different ways. Given this multiplicity of meanings, studying regulatory cooperation requires exploring some fundamental elements to understand the main concepts and approaches used, and to capture its multiple levels and dimensions. The adopted denominations and utilized concepts are many—“regional regulatory cooperation,” “regional regulatory regime,” “regional regulatory integration,” “regulatory regionalism,” and “regional regulatory governance,” among others—and each captures, in its own way, particular dimensions or aspects of the field. In terms of levels, whereas a rich and dense literature has attested to the fact that global governance increasingly proceeds through transnational regulations, studies with a focus on the regional level are scant, especially when compared to the former, and remain scattered under various labels and denominations. However, regulatory cooperation leads to the creation of regulatory spaces that blur the distinction not only between the national and global arenas, but also between the national and the regional. Studies have thus translated these theoretical claims into empirical research showing that there is a growing regulatory cooperation space at the regional level, where various constellations of actors and networks that bridge the state and nonstate, and public and private, distinctions operate across levels and policy sectors. Analyses and scholarship on regulation and regulatory cooperation have made relevant progress, and in so doing, they have opened new avenues for research to explore and understand the place and role of regulatory cooperation and regions in a complex regulatory world.

Article

Africa has made significant progress at home and on the world stage that belies its image as the backwater of the global system. Far from being marginalized, African states have exercised their agency in the international system through an extensive mechanism of institutionalized diplomacy—anchored on the African Union (AU)—that they have forged over several decades of collective action. Changes are taking place in 21st-century Africa as a result of these collective efforts. Socioeconomic data from the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations, and the World Bank, indicate the economic, political, and demographic forces that are remaking Africa. Finally, the changes in Africa have implications for the evolving world order. Objective conditions warrant a reimagining of Africa as an agent in the international system, rather than as a passive victim of a predatory, anarchical order. Current challenges facing the post-war liberal international order make such reimagination imperative.