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North Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (NA-RISP)

A customized approach for a specific region

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is actively preparing a Regional Integration Strategy Paper for North Africa (NA-RISP), the main North Africa Regional integration support instrument. This strategy document which will cover the period 2016-2020, should be the first in North Africa, after several non-successful attempts, particularly because of the socio-political events that the region knows since 2011. The 2016-2020 NA-RISP should be the first developed under RISP round the era of the Bank’s all-new "Policy and Regional Integration Strategy" (PRIS) 2014-2023, adopted in November 2014.

The development objective of the 2016-2020 NA-RISP is to contribute to the realization of inclusive growthwithin the six (6) countries of the North Africa region, which covers for the Bank, AlgeriaEgyptLibyaMoroccoMauritania and Tunisia. While being aligned with the Continental Bank strategy (PRIS 2014 to 2023), should reflect the specificities of the region in terms of regional integration.

From the perspective of regional integration, North Africa presents a particular context, with challenges and opportunities to capitalize. Indeed, the region is an economic engine for the continent (5 of the 6 countries are middle-income and the region accounts for nearly a third continental GDP). The countries in the region trade less among themselves most trading partners are outside zone. The challenges in the region are also many, including political support is often lacking in integration initiatives themselves are fragmented and not coordinated not a regional economic community (REC) covering six countries. A certain rather common challenges related to nature (limited water resources, coastal degradation, desert encroachment, etc.), in addition to security issues. At the Bank, there is little or no regional operations financing instruments for middle-income countries. However, opportunities exist: a renewed interest in regional integration, especially driven by the private sector; favorable prospects for boosting cooperation undertaken with other regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, etc.; non-state actors (private sector, civil society, academics) who want to be more involved for a bottom-up approach ; etc.

Given these characteristics, the Bank offers an approach to integration focuses on a multifaceted cooperation, with variable geometry, and a more open regionalism aimed, in addition to the North Africa region, sub-Saharan Africa, the Europe, the Middle East and the world. This approach is well in line with the new 2014-2023 PRIS. More specifically, the NA-RISP proposes an approach to integration: i) through cooperation; ii) relating to themes of common interest; iii) the bottom up; iv) based on pragmatic interventions; v) with a focus on knowledge products.

The pillars proposed for the 2016-2020 RISP are: i) promoting regional connectivity infrastructure; and ii) promoting private sector industrial development and trade; reinforced by a transversal theme: capacity building through knowledge dissemination and consulting on regional integration.