Agenda 2063 and the role of Africa’s overlapping regional organisations

In this paper for ECDPM, Fredrik Söderbaum and Sören Stapel look at the role of regional organisations (ROs) in tackling Africa’s development challenges. They map the number and types of ROs, explore how their mandates correspond to priorities of the AU’s Agenda 2063, look at which ROs have overlapping mandates, and propose ways to deal with such overlaps.

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    The number of regional organisations in Africa tripled in the last 40 years: from around 50 at the end of the 1970s to 156 in 2020.
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    Summary


    This paper explores the role of regional organisations (ROs) in achieving the African Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063, the continent’s master plan for development. We map the number and types of ROs on the continent, explore how their mandates correspond to Agenda 2063 priorities, look at which ROs have overlapping mandates, and propose ways to deal with such overlaps.

    The number of ROs tripled in the last 40 years: from around 50 at the end of the 1970s to 156 ROs in 2020. We find that they are unevenly spread across the 21 policy fields at the heart of Agenda 2063. Few ROs focus on gender and social protection, while over 30 ROs focus on agriculture, and business and commerce. There are harmonious overlaps in fields such as research, industry and manufacturing, and agriculture, while competitive overlaps occur mainly in health, environment and climate, and political and economic integration.

    As the paper makes clear, any attempt at understanding and restructuring the institutional landscape of regional cooperation in Africa to achieve Agenda 2063 will be misleading without acknowledging the roles of these ROs.

    African economic integration
    African economic integration Economy and trade
    Regional integration
    Regional organisations
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