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Economic Integration

Insight into Economic Integration


Nelson Mandela - was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent."

K.Y. Amoako - Founder and President of the African Center for Economic Transformation and former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa.

“It is common for one country to be a member of two, three and even four RECs. These overlapping memberships, mandates and objectives have resulted in unnecessary duplication of efforts and misuse of scarce resources."

"The political will to drive the regional integration agenda has been lacking. I have always said that national policy-makers should not only think nationally. They should think and act regionally to pursue comparative advantages more effectively in the global economy or to plan basic infrastructure. But it doesn’t happen because the follow-through is not there. Protocols are signed but not implemented. Politicians pay lip service to the regional integration agenda but then do not make the necessary adjustments to turn this rhetoric into reality."

John Oliphant - Previous principle executive officer of South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

“Our challenge is far beyond tariffs barriers. The removal of tariff barriers would not bring about gains from regional integration unless they are pursued by policy measures aimed at reducing costs of trade ranging from rent-seeking practices to lengthy border-crossing bureaucracies to the duplication of procedures. Regional efforts towards developing infrastructure and reducing the non-tariff barriers are, therefore, imperative to successful integration."

Donald Kaberuka - Rwandan economist and current President of the African Development Bank.

“Very soon, you will be able to jump in your car and drive from here [Addis Ababa] to Durban, once we have completed bits of infrastructure in Tanzania," Kaberuka says. "For me, these are critical issues because this market of 54 countries, highly fragmented, must come to a point where we get it together for trade, for the movement of people, capital and goods to be able to liberate the potential of 1 billion Africans."

Mthuli Ncube - Chief Economist and Vice-President, African Development Bank (AfDB).

“Sustained high economic growth often occurs in an environment where there is a meaningful infrastructure development. It is therefore imperative that planning for both national and regional infrastructure projects is coupled with the requisite legal and regulatory framework that will allow for increased involvement of the private sector in infrastructure development on a public-private partnerships model. Improved infrastructure investment in Africa is crucial for the continent’s competitiveness and productivity; and contributes to spatial-inclusion and reducing spatial inequalities."

Kwame Nkrumah - Ghana’s first President

“Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind. "

Hanna Tetteh - The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana.

"There is the need for public sector workers, as implementing agents of the various protocols, to have a better appreciation of issues relating to regional integration."

Boutros Boutros-Ghali - Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from January 1992 to December 1996.

"Regional cooperation and integration was one of the key areas for the future development of Africa. Regional markets can provide export alternatives for local producers. Regional projects can help to rationalize the use of resources and talent. Through regional alliances, African countries can give themselves the means to negotiate more favorable terms with their international counterparts.... Regional economic cooperation does not happen without great effort and great planning."

Ms Bharti Daya - Deputy Director NEPAD Secretariat, The South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

"Regional integration will bear fruits if market integration is combined with trade infrastructure and industrial development. Africa’s future lies in its ability to increase its production base, trade with itself, and its ability to integrate into the globally market."

Edward V. K. Jaycox - World Bank Vice-President for the Africa Region

"The countries of southern Africa will not develop to their potential if they are not economically integrated. Economic integration would expand markets and employment opportunities, allow more efficient investment, promote the diffusion of technology and attract foreign investment. The elimination of trade barriers between countries in southern Africa could double the volume of trade in the region. Economic integration is the key to creating the kind of competitive environment that promotes innovation and would expand the ranks of the region's entrepreneurs."

Jennifer Blanke - Chief Economist, World Economic Forum.

"Africa’s growth needs to be seen in the wider international context, where encouraging gains in economic growth belie an underlying weakness in its long-term competitiveness. Regional integration is key to addressing this weakness through the delivery of wider social and economic benefits and should be prioritized by Africa’s leaders as they look to ensure that Africa delivers on its promise."

Jaime de Melo - Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development

“Equally important, until recently at least, regional integration in Africa was founded on a 20th century exchange of market access at the expense of outsiders. With the reduction in trade costs and the subsequent fragmentation of production, 21st century regionalism is about a new bargain: an exchange of domestic market reforms for FDI which brings home the service activities necessary to participate in the global value chain. In this new environment, where trade is trade in tasks and increasingly involves an exchange of intermediate goods, protection (or exchange of market access) amounts to preventing oneself from participating in global outsourcing."


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