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Regional Integration is key to Africa’s development and the development of each country or region will lead to more integration. There is in effect a complex, bidirectional causality in the relationship between regional integration and economic growth across the continent.

Infrastructural, industrial and agricultural development will benefit substantially from more regional integration, and this will gradually pave the way to a larger trading bloc and possibly a single trading block in Africa.  

The continent is currently entangled in a complex web of regional trading blocs such as COMESA SADC, CEMAC, IGAD, EAC etc, each having crippling protectionist trade policies hindering non members of the bloc from trading with members. The complex nature of the different blocs gets even more complex when some members belong to more than one trading bloc, implying that such a member could be subjected to two different trading blocs with different regimes. How to harmonise and find a common ground to deal with such members has been a stumbling block to most of these regional blocs and hence the reason for their ineffectiveness collapse in some cases.

Infrastructure development is an essential component of regional integration Good infrastructure within the blocs is a contributing factor to more trade; reason why more emphasise has been focused on developing the infrastructure within member states.  A hindering and dampening factor to this infrastructural development is the high cost associated with building new infrastructure; this explains why a regional approach to infrastructural development is being encouraged.  The reasoning behind this is that a regional approach to infrastructure development can substantially reduce infrastructure costs through economies of scale – especially in the energy sector.

 

 

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