Marrakech (Morocco) — Following the launching of the 52nd session, of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through the Director of the Division of Regional Integration and Trade, Mr. Stephen Karingi, presented this Wednesday his report, "Assessing Regional Integration in Africa."
In this document, the ECA has assessed current trends of regional integration in Africa, specifically on progress made in the areas of macroeconomic convergence, trade, investment and markets, free movement of people and infrastructure. including those from landlocked countries in the context of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, governance, peace and security.
According to the report, despite progress at the continental, regional and national levels, achieving regional integration continues to face several challenges. The report believes that much coordination is required to achieve macroeconomic convergence in the Regional economic commissions.
"Member States must include regional integration activities in their national development strategies with a view to improving the allocation of human and financial resources and making it more effective", recommends the ECA report on assessing regional integration in Africa.
Addressing the issue of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the report states that this agreement represents a major step in continental integration and offers many benefits to all.
With regard to e-commerce, the report indicates that it can be seen as a way to overcome some trade-related barriers such as distances, but to carry out such an initiative, it is necessary to overcome several other obstacles such as lack of postal services and logistics services, lack of credible means of payment and low rates of computer and internet literacy.
In this regard, the ECA report suggests that African countries should pursue policies that maximize the benefits of digital transformation and distribute them equitably.
"Our challenge is to succeed in the AfCFTA and ensure that commitments translate into practices," said Zouhair Chorfi. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco also proposes that investments be encouraged and that each region has integrative projects.
For the director of the regional integration and trade division of ECA who presented the report, Mr. Stephen Karingi, believes that: "With the number of countries which have signed and ratified the AfCTA, there is a real political will." In his presentation of the report, Mr. Karingi said that the creation of the Free Trade Area, a number of obstacles to the regional archive remain, including the infrastructure deficit, low levels of macroeconomic convergence and persistent threats to peace and security.
The presentation of this report was made in the presence of the various experts participating in the 52nd session of the ECA which is held from March 20 to 26, 2019, in Marrakech, Morocco.