Regional integration is key to transforming Africa’s fragmented economies – Stephen Karingi
Regional integration remains key to transforming Africa’s fragmented economies, an official from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said.
The statement was made Thursday by Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division at ECA, during the presentation of an assessment of the progress of regional integration in Africa at the meeting of the working group. experts from May 11 to 13.
“African countries should harness the opportunities embedded in integration initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to foster post-COVID-19 economic recovery and transformation,” he said. he said in a statement from the ECA.
According to ECA, although commendable progress has been made in advancing integration agendas, challenges remain.
“Progress has been made in boosting intra-African trade, such as the adoption of industrialization policies and strategies,” Karingi said. “But Africa continues to trade more with the outside world than with itself.”
He noted that macroeconomic integration and convergence are key to accelerating intra-regional trade. Five regional economic communities already have primary macroeconomic convergence criteria.
“But Africa’s integration and socio-economic development are hampered by huge infrastructure gaps. Integration of production on the continent remains uneven and weak,” Karingi said.
The expert group meeting is being held within the framework of the 54th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development currently underway in Dakar, capital of Senegal.
During the meeting, delegates from various African countries raised concerns about the slow pace of the continent’s integration and the continent’s preparedness to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis.
Karingi said Africa’s integration process is hampered by difficulties in infrastructure, financing and political issues such as rules of origin which pose a challenge for an open common market.
He said a concerted effort is required from all regional economic communities, key partners and stakeholders to address the challenges of integration.
Karingi stressed that African countries should implement the CFTA agreement in order to withstand future economic shocks and maintain sustainable growth in the post-COVID-19 era. Final article