The political economy dynamics of regional organisations in Africa

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What blocks or drives regional integration in Africa? What role do regional organisations play in this? What are the incentives and power dynamics at play?

In 2015 and 2016, we aimed to answer these questions by looking at the political economy of six of Africa’s largest regional organisations. Our latest project on the political economy dynamics of regional organisations in Africa (PEDRO) digs even deeper, by looking at no less than 17 organisations. The PEDRO project, carried out with support from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), ran from 2016 until 2018.

In early December 2017, we proudly launched the first 30 policy briefs and background papers of the ambitious project. You can download these below, or browse the key highlights of the studies via our interactive online tool – which in addition allows you to explore the history, priorities and members of all 17 organisations.

Click and discover our interactive tool.

Policy briefs and background papers

Synthesis paper

Multi-topic regional organisations and agreements

River basin and resource management organisations

Peace and security organisations

Case studies

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 for the PEDRO project, we have developed an interactive map to illustrate the numerous memberships.

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.

Questions or ideas?

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

Related publications and projects

Rewiring support to African continental and regional organisations
Jan Vanheukelom, Bruce Byiers and Alfonso Medinilla, ECDPM paper, April 2020

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.