Assessing Regional Integration in Africa IV

Enhancing Intra-African Trade

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The publication seeks to address the pressing issues that are negatively affecting trade amongst African countries. It undertakes a comprehensive empirical analysis of intra-African trade to determine why it has remained consistently low over the past decades. The report proposes concrete recommendations, to be implemented by member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), members of the private-sector, and other stakeholders in Africa’s development. It also analyses the various policy issues and other factors that have affected intra-African trade.



Payments systems and intra-African trade

A key challenge to intra-African trade is the facilitation of payments. By comparison with international practices, African payment systems are often inefficient in terms of cost, time, convenience, adaptability and finality. An international fund transfer via electronic networks that takes just minutes to go around the globe can take two weeks to arrive at the cross-border beneficiary in some African countries because of geographical handicaps, and a check can take more than a month to clear in sub-Saharan Africa. Forty per cent of Africa comprises island or landlocked economies.


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