2010 ŤAssessing Regional Integration in Africať (ARIA IV): Enhancing intra-African trade
UNECA, AUC, AfDB, 2010by: 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.