J. Mackie, S. Bilal, I. Ramdoo, H. Hohmeister and T. Luckho. 2010. Joining up Africa Support to Regional Integration (Discussion Paper 99). Maastricht: ECDPM.
Regional integration is an important political and economic priority for Africa. It is largely recognized and increasingly supported by the development partners. The overall objectives of regional integration, which include achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, are set out and agreed at the continental level in the Abuja Treaty (1991), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
Action Plan and at the regional level in the Treaties and Protocols instituting the related regional economic communities (RECs)2
Regional organizations in Africa vary greatly: some have an economic integration agenda with strategies developed jointly by member states to achieve their objectives while others have shorter term political objectives. Progress achieved so far varies significantly across the RECs: while some in West Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa have shown renewed dynamism in advancing their integration agenda, others
(as in Central Africa) have experienced greater difficulties. Recent initiatives to harmonize policies and programmes among regional organizations (ROs) (COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Initiative and the Inter Regional Coordinating Committee (IRCC) coordination mechanism put in place by the four partners COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC) are seen as important steps towards building greater coherence among regional communities across Africa.