Regional cooperation and integration has been among the central concerns of Africa’s development essentially as an instrument of faster collective growth and shared prosperity. Utilizing the integration process, African countries hope to create an economic and market space large enough to make it possible to establish viable production capacities in industry and in the primary sector, especially through exploiting complementary resources. It can also make it possible to collectively build transport, communication and energy infrastructure, which would otherwise be too costly for individual countries to undertake. The first generation of integration arrangements focused primarily on promotion of trade, principally through liberalization schemes.
However, currently the Africa region is confronted by an enormous challenge to develop faster and more inclusively, induced by the implacable advance of globalization, liberalization of international trade, and more significantly by the need for eradication of poverty and for enhancing and sustaining human welfare. In view of this, it has become imperative to revamp Africa’s integration process – and speed up its tempo through bold and urgent steps.
The panel is invited to discuss the following questions:
- What are some of the challenges to faster regional integration for transforming Africa?
- What should Africa do to enhance trans-boundary value chains and enhance faster shared regional growth and transformation?
- What are the impediments to shared infrastructure initiatives?
- What are the impediments to transformative development corridor initiatives?
- What mechanisms (arrangements, policies and strategies) should be in place to address these challenges to enhance Africa’s regional integration and transformation?
- Regional integration and transformation: The potential for regional integration to achieve Africa’s transformation and shared prosperity is clearly undeniable. How best can Africa exploit and address the emerging opportunities to and mega-trends for accomplishing Africa’s transformation?
(Demographic dynamics in Africa; rapid urbanization; greater role of the private sector; increasing pressure on Africa’s natural resources, including land and water due to the compound effect of population growth, climate change, and rising demand for primary commodities; and, at a global level, emergence of new “growth poles” – most notably the BRICS and strengthening partnerships with Africa.)