Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Central Africa: Strength in Unity, and Vice Versa - Central Africa's Integration Problem

analysis

Is it a coincidence that Africa's most troubled region is also its least integrated? SIMON ALLISON explores why central Africa has failed to make any progress on regional unity, and what this means for its future (no, it's not good news). After all, a region is only as effective as the sum of its parts.

October 25th is Central African Regional Integration Day. Few people know or observe this holiday because the citizens of Africa's poorest and most conflict-prone region have little to celebrate.

The Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union (AU), established the African Economic Community (AEC) when its member states signed the Abuja Treaty in 1991. The AEC is based on the premise that regional integration solves all manner of ills: trade imbalances and barriers, social disunity, cross-border tensions and poor living standards. Name it and regional integration will fix it.

In the places where it has happened, regional integration has helped kickstart moribund economies and enhance regional security. Not every region, however, can boast impressive results. Implementing neighbourly ties is more difficult than the authors of the Abuja Treaty anticipated. Central Africa has barely implemented it at all. Without question, this is the...

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.