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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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The drivers of regional integration for Africa’s development

Regional integration in Africa follows the traditional concept based on geographical proximity and contiguity of countries and political cooperation through economic cooperation. But major internal and external forces are significantly changing economic relations within Africa and with the rest of the world. Important aspects of these changes are the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the new trade geography where rich countries seek greater integration with poor countries through bilateral trade agreements, and new institutions of international trade (such as the World Trade Organization). The European Union’s economic partnership agreements are also likely to considerably change the architecture of regional integration in Africa.

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