Assessing Regional Integration in Africa II

Rationalizing Regional Economic Communities

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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.




Regional integration and the creation of the African common market has been thevision of African leaders since the early years of independence. Africa’s regional economic communities are making significant progress in its attempts to integrate. Improvements have been made in areas including trade, communications, macro economic polices, and transportation. Despite the gains, there are still a number of challenges facing the integration process. These challenges emerged from our first joint publication on regional integration, titled: Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA 1). Among the key issues is the complex institutional setting under which regional integration schemes have been operating. This is why the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa took the decision to follow the publication of ARIA1 with a series of ARIA publications, examining in detail the key obstacles to integration. ARIA 2, therefore, takes a detailed look at Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs).


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