Original Research

The Challenge of Regional Economic Integration in Africa: Theory and Reality

Peace A. Jiboku
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 3, No 4 | a96 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v3i4.96 | © 2015 Peace A. Jiboku | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 November 2016 | Published: 01 December 2015

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Africa has a high concentration of sub-regional economic organisations, multilateral arrangements and institutions promoting the goals of integration. Yet, the continent has remained the least integrated of the world’s major regions. Africa has remained slow in its development trajectory and harbours most of the least developed countries of the world. A large percentage of the African populace is mired in poverty while the sub-continent continues to be marginalised in global affairs. The obvious reality is that Africa is yet to benefit fully from the gains of regional economic integration and that the economic transformation of the African continent as a whole – one of the main objectives often declared in establishing regional economic integration schemes – is yet to be realised. There is, in Africa, a seemingly wide gap between the theoretical aspirations towards regional economic integration and the empirical evidence and practical reality of actual integration. Regionalism in Africa raises several issues of contradictions and debate in the world
of theory. This paper examines regional economic integration challenge in Africa locating key issues within theory and practice.


Regionalism; regional cooperation; economic integration; AU; NEPAD; SADC; ECOWAS; Africa


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