18 June 2019

Researchers Discuss Regional and Domestic Policies to Deepen Integration in Eastern Africa

Kigali — The National Bank of Rwanda organized a research day on 10 June, a platform for disseminating findings of economic studies that are relevant to the bank's operations.

Participants at the meeting discussed the theme "Towards new strategies for regional and domestic monetary policies", in an event at the Kigali Convention Centre that gathered 70 participants. Mr John Rwangombwa, Governor of National Bank of Rwanda said in his opening remarks that the theme was timely given the fast transformation that regional as well as national economies are undergoing.

Jaime de Melo, a trade economist and Professor at the University of Geneva, spoke on the Continental Free Trade Area for Africa (AfCFTA) and the Common External Tariff (CET) of the East African Community (EAC). For the implementation of the AfCFTA, he advocated in favour of a concentration of financial resources on the better provision of regional public goods.

Andrew Mold, Acting Director of UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Eastern Africa, discussed the consequences of Brexit for Africa on East Africa. There are currently a lot of concerns that, in the absence of an exit agreement, UK and EU could mutually hurt each other - and that African countries could be collateral victims. "Brexit has already caused serious political damage to the UK, causing the resignation of two Prime Ministers" he said, stressing that both European Union and UK trade will be disrupted by Brexit.

On the consequences of Brexit for Africa, Mold said that while the direct impacts through investment, trade and remittances are likely to be relatively small, African countries may benefit from the creation of new export opportunities in certain sectors. He did, however, also caution that Brexit could undermine confidence in regional integration processes.

"East Africa and the continent as a whole should not falter to redouble efforts towards regional integration through the implementation of the AfCFTA, while learning the pertinent lessons from Europe".

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