by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
Africa is increasingly focusing on regional integration as a strategy for achieving
sustainable economic growth as there is a consensus that by merging its economies
and pooling its capacities, endowments and energies, the continent can overcome
its daunting development challenges. Deeper integration would allow it not only to achieve sustained and robust economic growth but it will also ensure poverty alleviation, enhanced movement of goods, services, capital and labour, socio-economic
policy coordination and harmonization, infrastructure development as well
as the promotion of peace and security within and between the regions.
To attain these objectives, African countries, in collaboration with their pan-African
institutions such as the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development
Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and
Regional Economic Communities (RECs), have embarked on the process of integration
along a systematic continuum of Free Trade Area, Customs Union and Common
Market. As envisaged in the Abuja Treaty, these efforts are expected to converge towards
an African Economic Community, in which the separate economic, monetary, fiscal
and social policies applied separately by individual African countries of the continent
would be fully harmonized and integrated into uniform policies common to them all.
The wider economic space created will strengthen Africa?s voice and bargaining power
in its relations with the rest of the world.