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Trade Liberalization, Investment and Economic Integration in African Regional Economic Communities towards the African Common Market

image of Trade Liberalization, Investment and Economic Integration in African Regional Economic Communities towards the African Common Market
This report reviews the progress in African regional integration processes, suggesting an option for revising the timeframe for accelerating continental integration. Several recommendations related to accelerating integration; the need for a development-driven regional integration; the focus on export value addition and diversification in manufactured goods and services; and, enhancing competition policy and attracting more foreign and domestic investment have been made. This report concludes that there is an urgent need to expand integration with regards to international trade.

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Executive summary

Regional and continental integration constitutes a major development strategy of African countries. The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action, the 1991 the African Economic Treaty and the 2000 Constitutive Act of the African Union adopted by African countries embodied their decision and desire for achievement of continental integration through trade, economic, social and culture spheres. Over the years, African countries have instituted and implemented various regional economic cooperation and integration programmes. The vision underpinning Africa economic integration has also evolved. At the Second Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration (July 2007, Kigali, Rwanda), discussions on building common markets in Africa centred on “achieving integration that is people-centred and development oriented”. This vision of economic integration that is pro-people, inclusive and centred on development sets the benchmark against which to direct the course of the integration movement in African.

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