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.




Global trends in international trade and economic, social, and political relations continue to forge closer integration among countries and regions. Trade in goods and services, and movement of capital and human resources continue to grow tremendously, assisted by accelerated sharing of technology across national and regional borders. But all indicators—including Africa’s share of global trade volume—show that the continent’s performance has been poor, marginalizing it in the global trading system. This marginalization has taken place even as the continent has increased its trade with the rest of the world by eliminating barriers, mainly unilaterally.


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