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Economic Brief - Border Posts, Checkpoints, and Intra-African Trade: Challenges and Solutions


For over five decades, regional integration has been part of the African continent’s overarching strategy for economic transformation. The establishment of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and regional economic communities (RECs) was viewed as the panacea for a whole range of socioeconomic, developmental and political challenges. Their scope included the promotion of intraregional trade, policy coordination, and the management or development of shared physical infrastructure. While some of these regional arrangements also covered issues of common interest in public governance, defense, and security, others extended to political issues.

The creation of RTAs and RECs was treated as the sine qua non to address the challenges of small domestic markets, weak productive structures, slow progress on reforms/ economic growth, and widespread conflict/political instability. Over time, however, these regional arrangements were either punctuated by periods of stagnation or blighted by reversals, with modest achievements, at best, in a few instances.

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