Regional economic integration in Africa : the importance of regional economic communities

Chowthee, Nishi Lalmanie (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since independence in the early 1950's, Africa's overall economic performance compared very unfavourably with those of other regions of the developing world mainly because it attained political independence as a fragmented continent. From this time, the vision of African leaders has been that of regional integration and the creation of the African common market. The vision of a common market which unites Africa's mostly small and fragmented economies would lead to economies of scale, thereby making African countries more competitive. That vision however, has been clouded by the devastation of war, both civil and territorial and corruption which drains the state. Therefore, the importance of regional economic integration is pertinent and more so, the role of Regional Economic Communities as integrative institutions. The African Union, the main institution for political, economic and social integration established the African Economic Community whose main role is to facilitate the regional economic integration process in Africa. Africa's RECs have been designated by the Abuja Treaty as the building blocks for integration and the eventual creation of an African Economic Community. The Abuja Treaty and the Constitutive Act of the African Union provides for the coordination and harmonization of the policies of the Regional Economic Communities. One of the main challenges confronting Africa in its quest for full integration is the rationalisation of regional economic communities. The RECs with their treaties, protocols and agendas are logical institutions to jumpstart Africa's integration. The African Union recognises eight Regional Economic Communities, but the African continent has fourteen inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), all of which are working on regional integration issues. The RECs have had some successes but have not met their objectives of greater production. The RECs need to be revived and the first thing would be to rationalise their structure and their interactions with national governments. Rationalisation has benefits and costs and rationalisation efforts should focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Ultimately, rationalisation would allow Africa to attain the full benefits of integration, particularly growth for trade within and outside Africa. Regional Economic Communities are viewed as pillars of continental integration by the African Union. The strategy of economic emancipation must denote economic development for all African people including grass roots level and there is no doubt that significant challenges exist and must be addressed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die onafhanlikheid in die vroeë 1950's het die oorgrote ekonomiese groei van Afrika goed vergelyk met die ander onwikkelende streke in die wêreld grotendeels as gevolg van die gefragmenteerde onafhanklikheidswording in Afika as geheel. Vir die eerste keer was die visie van Afrika leiers dit eens dat Afrika streke as een moet integreer asook die daarstelling van een gemeenskaplike mark. Hierdie visie is egter vertroebel deur die verwoesting van oorloë, beide siviel en territoriaal, asook korrupsie, wat 'n staat dreineer. Daarom is die belangrikheid van streeks ekonomiese integrasie steeds belangrik, en nog meer so, die rol van Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe (REC's) as integrerende instelling. Die Afrika Unie, die hoof instelling vir politieke, ekonomiese en sosiale integrasie het die Afrika Ekonomiese Gemeenskap, wie se hoof taak dit is om die streeks ekonomiese integrasie te fasiliteer, gestig. Afrika se Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe is aangewys deur die Abuja Verdrag, om as die bouers van integrasie op te tree, met die uiteindelike daarstelling van 'n Afrika Ekonomiese Gemeenskap. Die Abuja Verdrag en die Konstutiewe Wet van die Afrika Unie maak voorsiening vir die koordinasie in ooreenstemming met die beleidsrigting van die Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe. Een van die hoof uitdagings wat Afrika in die gesig staar, met die soektog na volle integrasie, is die rasionalisasie van streeks ekonomiese gemeenskappe. Die Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe met hulle verdrae, protokol en agendas is die logiese instelling om die integrasie van Afrika 'n hupstoot te gee. Die Afrika Unie erken agt Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe maar die Afrika kontinent het veertien inter-regerings organisasies (IGO's) wat almal werk aan streeks integrasie kwessies. Die Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe het 'n sekere mate van sukses behaal, maar het nog nie hulle geteikende groter produksie bereik nie. Die Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe moet opnuut herleef word en die eerste stap sou wees om te rasionaliseer oor hulle struktuur en die interaksie met nasionale regerings. Rasionalisering het voordele en kostes en pogings behoort te fokus op doeltreffendheid en effektiwiteit. Die uiteinde van rasionalisering sal Afrika die volle voordele van integrasie, veral t.o.v handelsgroei binne en buite Afrika, ervaar. Streeks Ekonomiese Gemeenskappe word beskou, deur die Afrika Unie, as die pilare van kontinentale intergrasie. Die strategie van ekonomiese emansipasie moet 'n aanduiding wees vir ekonomiese ontwikkeling vir al die mense van Afrika, ook op grondvlak, en daar is geen twyfel dat beduidende uitdagings bestaan en dat dit moet aangespreek word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/932
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