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Assessing Regional Integration in Africa II

Rationalizing Regional Economic Communities

image of Assessing Regional Integration in Africa II

This report examines the effectiveness of Africa’s regional economic communities in pushing forward the regional integration agenda towards the objectives of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community. A fully functioning African Economic Community will remove all barriers to movement of people, goods and services across the continent, thereby creating a single economic space. The report examines the critical role that institutions in general can play in achieving policy objectives, and the specific role that African institutions perform. The analysis focuses on the regional economic communities, which have been designated by the African Union as the building blocks for achieving the African Economic Community.

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Inadequate coordination at the continental level

In the 15 years since the Abuja Treaty was signed African countries have introduced numerous initiatives in regional integration without coordinating them at the continental level. Integration outcomes clearly show that the continental blueprints for integration have served only as loose frameworks—not as rule-based points of reference—for the regional integration agenda. Coordinating mechanisms with a legal basis—essential in enforcing standards and commitments to integration a tall levels—are lacking. And this has led to overlapping memberships and in effective coordination and harmonization of programmes among the regional economic communities.

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