Insight into Regional Integration
“Whether or not to integrate with the world economy is a false choice. . . . We must integrate, but we will reap far greater rewards from integration in the world economy if our own house is integrated first. Therefore, we should choose actions that accelerate African integration, with the political will and selectivity of actions required.”
“In my view, for Africa, regional cooperation and integration is not a matter of choice but survival."
“It is likely that many African countries are simply too small to develop viable and deep enough markets to attract foreign interest even with the appropriate macroeconomic policies and institutions… moving towards a regional bond markets would help overcome the diversification problem and strengthens the argument for regional capital markets in Africa."
“The environment for regional integration…has been absent in Africa."
"If you can't provide enough transport facilities at home, how can you be thinking of West African or Pan-African transport facilities?"
"there are states that can't even pay the salaries of their civil servants. How can you expect them to take out their non-available resources to pay contributions to regional organisations?"
"how to launch a new process of industrialisation is one of the problems facing the African Union. …overlapping membership of regional economic communities has worked against the overall objective."
"Firstly, the net welfare effect of a regional integration agreement is not necessarily positive. It depends on the magnitude of the trade creation and trade deviation effects deriving from the agreement’s implementation. Secondly, an integration agreement could result in a partial loss of customs revenues for importing countries. This effect is even more significant as customs revenues constitute an important part of fiscal revenues in North Africa. Thirdly, rules of origin that are a basic component of integration agreements magnify the negative impact of trade deviation. From this angle, regional integration is not necessarily compatible with a higher degree of trade liberalization, as it could even be used as a protectionist instrument. Lastly, the effects of a regional integration agreement will not be similar for all member countries, as it could lead to trade deviation, and favor some member countries.”
“If Africa is to prosper it will have to place much greater emphasis on substantive regional integration than in the past and it has to decide that economic progress trumps political solidarity.”
“There is the problem of low priority accorded to the implementation of integration programmes vis-à-vis national ones which are very often supported and financed by influential international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. For example, under the structural Adjustment programmes in place in most African countries, domestic considerations take precedence over sub-regional integration pre-occupations."