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Dossier: The political economy dynamics of regional organisations in Africa

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Mapping Regional Organisations in Africa

Africa is home to numerous Regional Organisations, such as economic communities, river basin organisations, power pools, and more. On average, African countries are members of 6 regional organisations, with certain countries having joined up to 14.

Key to understanding the role and effectiveness of regional organisations is to understand who is a member of what and why. In the course of our work on the Political Economy of Regional Organisations, we have developed an interactive map to illustrate the numerous memberships.

How does our interactive map work? This video explains.

The interactive map covers 40 African organisations for regional cooperation and integration. Discover which countries belong to which organisations and navigate the complex landscape of overlaps.

Click and discover our interactive map.

The PEDRO Project

What blocks or drives regional integration in Africa? And what role do regional organisations play in this?

Our 2015-2016 PERIA project aimed to answer these questions by looking at the political economy of six of Africa’s largest regional organisations. In the next two years, our new PEDRO project wants to dig even deeper by looking into the political economy dynamics of 17 regional organisations in Africa

The study, carried out with support from the German ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ), will try to understand the actors and factors that shape how regional organisations play their role in promoting regional integration and cooperation.

The three overarching research questions of this study are:

  • What is the political traction of the regional organisation?
  • What are the political interests of member states for investing in a regional approach?
  • What areas of regional cooperation show the most political support and are opportunities for deepening regional integration?

The PEDRO project started in August 2016 and will continue until 2018. Research reports, blogs and videos will become available on this dossier page. 

The regional organisations

We will look at 17 African regional organisations:

Continental organisations

  • AU – African Union
  • NPCA – NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency

Regional economic communities recognised by the African Union

  • COMESA – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • EAC – East African Community
  • ECCAS – Economic Community of Central African States
  • ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States
  • IGAD – Inter Governmental Agency for Development
  • SADC – Southern African Development Community

Other economic regional organisations

  • CEMAC – Central African Economic and Monetary Community

Regional security organisations

  • EASF – East African Standby Force
  • ICGLR – International Conference of the Great Lakes Region
  • KAIPTC – Kofi Annan International Peacekeepers Training Centre

Transboundary natural resource management organisations

  • ABN – Autorité du Bassin du Niger
  • CBLT – Commission du Bassin du Lac de Tchad
  • NBI – Nile Bassin Initiative
  • CICOS – Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubangi-Sangha
  • COMIFAC – Central African Forestry Commission
  • (Also CEMAC and ICGLR)

Questions or ideas?

Do you have any questions or thoughts on the project you would like to share? Please contact Bruce Byiers at

Related projects

PERIA project: The political economy of regional integration in Africa (2015-2016)

The 2016-2018 PEDRO project builds on our PERIA project, that looked into the political economy of regional integration in Africa. For more information on the PERIA project, please visit our project dossier.


PERISA project: The political economy of regional integration in Southern Africa (2012-2013)

In 2012 and 2013, ECDPM and SAIIA partnered to take stock of key political and economic actors and factors that drive regional cooperation and effective integration in a rapidly changing global environment. Fore more information on the PERISA project, please visit our project page.