importance of regional integration in africa

At the same time, integration facilitates large-scale investment by "reinforcing the attractiveness of our economies and reducing the risks.". Regional integration efforts, however, need to go hand in hand with competitiveness-enhancing policies as explored in other parts of the Africa Competitiveness Report. The healthy effects of such a regional economic integration are presumed to be as follows: 1. The integration of Africa may be a complex process, but the stakes are high, and will ultimately determine "our political and economic future.". “International Technology Transfer and Economic Development.” Moreover, some experts argue, not all countries or regional groupings must -- or can -- move at the same speed. Saggi, K. (2002). Photo : ©United Nations, Africa still waiting for genuine 'partnership', Money awaits viable projects, says African bank, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Poverty 'stalls' further spread of democracy, Building a state for the Congolese people, Community Health Workers: The Unsung Heroes in Africa’s COVID-19 response, Why AU should push for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, UN chief urges peaceful, credible elections in Central African Republic, The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Their combined efforts can better develop roads, market facilities and other essential regional infrastructure. Marinov, Eduard (2013): Impact of the European Union on Regional Integration in Africa. For regional integration in Africa to be a success, Africa’s leaders will have to move beyond grand gestures and abstract visions. Leave a comment, With the right balance of audacity and pragmatism, regional integration could yield larger dividends. Throughout the ECA forum in March, participants emphasized the importance of moving toward integration at a more determined, systematic pace. Above all it should be to "create truly robust institutions strong enough to produce solid gains for all members." Most African countries continued to export primary commodities to the developed countries, and imported finished products from outside the continent. Over the past decade, regional organizations around the world have been devoting increased attention to the problem of internal displacement. But he favoured the development of costly, capital-intensive projects, which led to unsustainable foreign debt and deficits while creating few employment opportunities. In contrast to the gradualism of Southeast Asian states in slowly ascending the hierarchy of regional economic collaboration, African leaders have … It will make the African consumer's plight so much more hopeful." Despite the dismantling of tariffs and other trade barriers, commerce between African countries did not increase significantly. Specifically to promote greater private sector involvement in regional integration, the ADB is supporting an initiative known as the African Business Roundtable. Business, comment, In The Magazine Wider regional markets can open up more opportunities for African producers and consumers, beyond the sometimes small markets within their own borders. The importance of regional economic integration is a very pertinent issue in Africa, particularly in light of existing political and economic weaknesses. Theses (1.516Mb) Author. Although REI's role in contributing to growth and development was recognised and acknowledged, its importance in Africa has never been properly outlined. More focused and gradual steps that are carefully executed at the domestic level may be the best place to start. The study shows that a borderless continent that enables agricultural and industrial production across national boundaries is the foundation of a globally competitive African market, because it would offer economies of scale to investors, while creating much bigger markets and providing new opportunities for small firms and large. What African countries need, he said, are capable, democratic states which can build genuine partnerships with the private sector. African regional integration has had a remarkable new beginning since the formal beginning of the African Union (AU) in 2002. ", Overall, says Mr. Amoako, "Africa's current system is too complex, too duplicative, and requires too much political energy and money for what is being produced." Metadata Show full item record. April 14, 1999. The article is dedicated to the integration processes in the East Africa region. Moreover, integration can improve regional security, because the expansion of international trade often correlates with a reduction of conflict. There are important caveats when it comes to optimism about sub-Saharan African integration, though—most of which indicate that the continent still has a long way to go to reach full integration. The EAC Treaty, signed in 2000, commits the participating states to establish a customs union (established in 2005), a common market (July 2010) and a monetary union. For many ordinary Africans, however, the things that divide them are less important than what unites them: an understanding that they are all Africans and that they have common interests in promoting the closest possible political, economic and human ties across national boundaries. illustrate the impact of regional financial integration. We must build for ourselves. The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of the African Union. And with so many African countries at war, says former OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim, peace must also be a central element of any integration strategy. Some were crippled by civil war or came into conflict with one or more of their immediate neighbours, disrupting progress toward cooperation. He cites the example of the European Union, which has numerous "structural funds" and other mechanisms to benefit those countries that have less industry or higher unemployment. Africa's earlier frameworks for regional integration, such as the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action, tended to emphasize a preponderant state role. var s=iw[ce]('script');s.async='async';s.defer='defer';s.charset='utf-8';s.src=wp+"//jsc.mgid.com/i/n/independent.co.ug.719905.js?t="+D.getUTCFullYear()+D.getUTCMonth()+D.getUTCDate()+D.getUTCHours();c[ac](s);})(); Your email address will not be published. Integration cannot be achieved by relying strictly on political initiatives or focusing narrowly on economic dynamics, as had been the case with previous undertakings. Deeper market integration for goods, infrastructure services, and key factors of production (labour and capital) is especially important – both economically and strategically – for Africa’s small and fragmented economies. Without the people's support, he said, not much can be accomplished. "This objective can't be realized through market forces.". The Southern African region provides a good example of what has been achieved so far on the continent. Although regional integration in Africa has progressed since 1990 with more countries signed up as members of RTAs , Africa’s manufacturing performance in the same period has been relatively weak. Pp 351-358. With the right balance of audacity and pragmatism, regional integration could yield larger dividends COMMENT | Célestin Monga | When Kwame Nkrumah, under whose leadership Ghana became the first African country to claim independence in 1957, was overthrown by a military coup in 1966, few of his fellow citizens shed a tear for his regime. And last October it launched a major venture to strengthen marine trans-shipment facilities along the West African coast, with $100 mn in investments expected from an African-owned company, Ecomarine, based in Togo and Nigeria, and a US company. Since a regional common market obviously provides a much larger market than that offered by the domestic market of a single country, economies of scale, both internal and external, become possible with the widened size of the market. ", The goal, Mr. Amoako adds, should not just be to reduce unnecessary costs. Its first Annual Report on Integration in Africa, to be issued in full later this year, looks at a broad spectrum of integration issues in Africa and seeks to assess quantitatively how well African countries have done in forging ties with each other. As a result, many proponents of integration now pursue a less grandiose and more practical approach. The mutual connections between regional security and the economy relate particularly to the geographical constitution of the Horn of Africa. Agubuzu told the ADF in March. Up to now, he said, Africa has pursued regional integration in an "ad hoc, evolutionary manner" that has at times been "maddeningly slow. Building more links among African countries is essential for the continent's economic progress. Initially planned for July, the gathering took place in a virtual format, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional integration is seen as a rational response to the difficulties faced by a continent with many small national markets and landlocked countries. At many levels of society, people are actively seeking to forge more ties with each other. Regional integration refers to various types of political and economic agreements that form closer ties between sovereign countries. In grappling with the challenges facing regional integration efforts in Africa, advocates of greater unity have identified a number of other requirements for success: -- involving civil associations, business groups, professionals and other sectors of society more actively in all integration endeavours, -- achieving an appropriate balance between public and private economic initiatives, -- reconciling the sometimes conflicting interests of countries with diverse sizes, natural resources and economic performance, -- pursuing a pace of integration that is simultaneously ambitious and realistic. With 16 landlocked countries, Africa is more fragmented than any other continent. Challenges ahead are covered in Section 5. Much discussion in the literature concerns the study of regionalism in Africa, which suggests the concept’s continued importance to both analysts and practitioners (Akokpari, 2008: 85-6; Grant and Söderbaum, 2003). Africa Regions Countries Dimensions × AMU. For some, this primarily meant going more quickly. From political idea to customs union It is clear that the political and economic drivers of the new EAC are different from those of the former Community. “Pan-Africanism, as an expression of continental identity and coherence, distinguishes regional integration in Africa from other regions in the developing world” (McCarthy, 1995, p. 14). All but a couple of African governments belong to two or more RECs (download PDF version of map), as well as to many of the issue-specific groups. Many of the interviews and other materials were originally gathered by Africa Recovery at the African Development Forum, organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 3-8 March 2002 and devoted to the theme, "Defining Priorities for Regional Integration.". In the last five years, the Bank has invested more than $15 billion in the construction of regional infrastructure in energy, transport and ICT. As a result, African governments have concluded a very large number of regional integration arrangements, several … Gradually, things are changing. If Africa is to prosper it will have to place much greater emphasis on substantive regional integration than in the past and it has to decide that economic progress trumps political solidarity. Small-scale manufacturers have difficulty getting the necessary import or export licenses. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has pointed to two particular "virtues" of regional economic integration. Thirdly, education and cultural exchanges have the potential to enhance regional integration for the benefit of all members. Open regionalism could also stimulate connections between small and medium-size enterprises and international value chains, thereby enabling these firms to enter global markets. LIVE: EC’s Byabakama releases first results, BREAKING NEWS: Internet Shutdown, voting starts, Elections could affect recovery of lending businesses, ELECTION DAY: Break down of polling day procedures. Traders are routinely shaken down at customs posts. After Nkrumah’s fall from power, other African leaders took up his goal of building the United States of Africa, based on the Organisation of African Unity. The FTA also has a mechanism to compensate for tariff losses. Regional integration can help Africa build regional value chains, and thereby tap into global value chains. It will free up the time of African businesspeople to do business here. The Index ranks the level of integration of African countries within their respective RECs and also with the rest of the continent. However globalisation which refers originally to an integration of different political units that build up the world, finally directly produces its opposite: the fragmentation of the world. It works with the media in Africa and beyond to promote the work of the United Nations, Africa and the international community to bring peace and development to Africa. The report also examines the potential gains from regional public goods, such as synchronising financial governance frameworks, pooling power, opening skies to competition, and opening borders to free movement of people, goods, and services. "The problem is a lack of faith in our peoples," said Professor Maria Nzomo of the University of Nairobi. A new study from the African Development Bank provides evidence that both objectives are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they could be mutually reinforcing. Africa is infested with the deepest levels of poverty, lowest share of world trade, and weakest development of human capital and infrastructure, to say the least. Statement at the First Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance of French-Speaking Countries (Francophone) Monaco, April 14, 1999. In addition to examining specific indicators for each regional economic community (REC), the report has developed its own African Integration Index . Against an international backdrop of changing political and economic priorities, Africa must plot a new course for its industrialisation and economic development, using the momentum of regional integration. There is now a renewed impetus to establish closer economic and political ties among the continent's numerous countries, based on a heightened appreciation of the need for regional integration and a clearer understanding of the reasons for past failures. Therefore, a key challenge facing African leaders over the coming years will be to find ways to rationalize the continent's "plethora of integration institutions. In fact, because these liberalization policies opened African markets to cheap manufactured goods from Northern industries, local manufacturers simply could not compete. Lack of adequate complementary policies and institutions may lead to inefficient outcomes. Hundreds went out of business, further eroding industrial production and leaving African economies even more dependent on the export of cocoa, cotton, copper and other raw materials. Finding ways to overcome such inequities must be consciously negotiated by governments, he said. Regional Integration in Africa: An Important Step Toward Global Integration - Address by Mr. Alassane D. Ouattara. No customs officers check the goods, and they are not counted in Benin's official trade statistics. Others urged caution. UEMOA, however, has a mechanism to compensate for such revenue losses, weighted in favour of the more impoverished, landlocked countries in the group (see table). "It will facilitate the movement of people, goods and services, and promote inter-state trading.". (See graph.). The continent’s leaders also created a large number of regional institutions to make incremental progress toward Nkrumah’s goal. In recent years, the concept has acquired greater urgency, dramatized by the formal launching of the African Union this July (see "The African Union is launched"). A major cause of the shortcomings of past integration efforts, they argued, lay in the failure of African leaders to consult their citizens when designing integration strategies and programmes. In view of this, it is appropriate to briefly reexamine why regional integration is pursued, what is understood by regional integration and pre-conditions and principles for regional integration in sub-Saharan Africa. The first is elimination of all bilateral tariffs. How quickly -- and how well -- Africa moves toward integration will depend to a great extent on reforming its existing regional institutions. A number of landlocked countries, including newly independent South Sudan, are slowly but surely intensifying cross-border cooperation to ensure access to water, energy and existing transport networks in the region in the midst of long-running tensions within and between countries, the effects of climate change and drought, and influences from outside the regi… While creating a single African market is a desirable goal, pursuing it must not distract national policymakers’ attention from the huge potential gains to be had from integration into the global economy. Chapter 3 of the report presents the main findings and policy recommendations. The OAU subsequently adopted a series of treaties to make economic integration a reality. Required fields are marked *. Ordinary travellers often have to pay small bribes to get past police checkpoints. New strategies aim for public involvement, practical results, Greater African unity has long been a cherished -- but elusive -- goal. Amoako, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), African regional integration must accelerate so that the continent can respond "ever more effectively to a globalizing world.". Gwala, Sbusisiwe Philile. Amoako, Executive Secretary, ECA. At a week-long African Development Forum (ADF) organized by the ECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March, many participants from civil society and business organizations expressed great frustration over their virtual exclusion from existing regional institutions (see Africa Recovery, April 2002). Nkrumah was a visionary and charismatic leader whose focus was on modernising Ghana and on campaigning for Africa’s political unity. The Communauté Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs (CEPGL), comprising Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, fared the worst, in large part because of the incessant wars that have afflicted the region. More recently, in May, as part of an Africa-wide arts exhibition in Dakar, Senegal, one of the artists, Mansour Ciss, set up a foreign exchange bureau. Regional Integration is a process in which neighboring countries enter into an agreement in order to upgrade cooperation through common institutions and rules. Community (EAC) within the context of regional integration (chapter 1), and analyses the impact of EAC regional integration on women’s well-being with a focus on women’s employment (chapter 2). UEMOA compensation for member-states, 2001*, Country CFA francs, mn Niger 4,997 Mali 4,996 Burkina Faso 3,122 Benin 2,579 Senegal 1,520 Togo 958 Côte d'Ivoire 83 Guinea-Bissau 41. So far, the adoption of the regional NTMs agenda appears to have had a limited impact on the regional integration process as highlighted in the 2016 Africa Regional Integration Index report ranking ECOWAS as second last out of the eight Regional Economic Communities with respect to trade integration and regional infrastructure. -- K.Y. But many African governments lacked the financial resources and political credibility to effectively implement policies even within their own borders. Since a regional common market obviously provides a much larger market than that offered by the domestic market of a single country, economies of scale, both internal and external, become possible with the widened size of the market. NEPAD seeks economic development through the attraction of foreign-direct investment (FDI) from highly industrialised countries. Africa’s challenges call for pragmatism and a sense of urgency in action. Algeria contributes to 42% of regional GDP but is not a top performer in regional integration, with Morocco and Tunisia ahead in regional integration scores. It can reduce the costs of developing essential infrastructure, including transport, communications, energy, water systems and scientific and technological research, which often lie beyond the means of individual countries. Regional integration plays an important role in Africa’s political rhetoric and vision, and has contributed to shape Africa’s political, economic and institutional landscape. NEPAD emphasises the importance of African ownership and leadership, based on a neo-liberal framework which encourages privatisation, liberalisation and deregulation. This, in turn, is helping encourage the rest of the ECOWAS members to step up their own integration efforts. View Details. Similarly, wars within the Mano River Union (MRU), made up of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, also brought poor performance initially, although integration advanced somewhat in the later years as fighting subsided in Liberia. "The minimalist approach to the role of the state is not right," South African Transport Minister Dullah Omar said at the Addis Ababa forum. Regional integration has therefore become a necessary condition for Africa to optimize its growth potential and to be able to compete and play a leading role in the global marketplace. Some African countries have a particular concern that lowering or eliminating tariffs on trade with their regional partners will deprive them of an important source of government revenue. This series of articles examines some of the central challenges facing the drive for integration, including enhanced trade among African countries, more roads and other infrastructure, reform of regional institutions, greater accountability and popular involvement, and closer coordination of efforts by the public and private sectors. Saggi, K. (2002). Like Benin, each of Africa's 53 countries has its own flag, constitution, capital city and customs service, and each is separated by lines on the map. Regional Integration in Africa: An Important Step towards Global Integration. , secretary-general of the European Union on regional integration has been hailed as 1980! Enterprises and international value chains, thereby enabling these firms to enter global.... That are carefully executed at the same is true for Kenya whose most important trading partner is Uganda s! Enhance regional integration could yield large dividends for Africa ’ s political unity are unable to keep with... 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Bank is committed to accelerating Africa ’ s goal 2011, Harri Daniel, 1 comment forces, by,! The private sector involvement in regional initiatives started sometimes small markets within their respective RECs and also with rest! But for the continent and create the United states of Africa in the African consumer 's plight much... Spending priorities at home, they often are unable to keep up with their multiple dues and.! And landlocked countries, Africa can speak in a virtual format, owing to the is!

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