Regional economic communities (RECs) are regional groupings of African states. For Africa, a vast continent of over 1.2 billion people, integration has considerable potential not only for promoting Regional trade integration was first proposed in 1978 by the Lusaka Declaration of Intent and Commitment to the Establishment of a Preferential Trade Area (PTA) for Eastern and Southern Africa, which entered into force in 1982. Rhetorically the advantages of regional integration in Africa were recognised even before the creation of the OAU in 1963. African Trade Policy Center (2018). The AU is therefore expected to act as the primary vehicle for the advancement of regional integration, and for the promotion of Africa’s integration into the global economy. Regional integration is a process in which countries enter into a regional agreement in order to enhance regional cooperation through regional structure and rules. The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for the Development of Africa and the Abuja Treaty of 1991 proposed creating RECs with a view to regional and eventually continental integration. Metzger, M. (2008) Regional Cooperation and Integration in Sub-Saharan Africa, Geneva: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Regional integration efforts, however, need to go hand in hand with competitiveness-enhancing policies as explored in other parts of the Africa Competitiveness Report. Africa’s integration is no longer a matter of choice. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest customs union in the world but has relatively little to show for its longevity. The Southern African Development Political motives, geography, and the uneven distribution of gains trumped the traditional efficiency gains across Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Their primary purpose is to facilitate regional economic integration between member states. Regional Integration in Africa Challenges and Prospects . Regional integration refers to various types of political and economic agreements that form closer ties between sovereign countries. Mistry, P. S. (2000) ‘Africa’s Record of Regional Co-operation and Integration’, African Affairs, 99 (397): 553-73. Africa - Regional integration stories from the field The World Bank Group's Regional Integration Program in Sub-Saharan Africa allows countries to come together to … In Africa, regional integration has most certainly begun, but it is not as far advanced as in other parts of the world. Regional Integration and Trade Division. Deepening Africa India trade and investment partnership: a joint report by the African Trade … regional integration is the way ahead as there are many regional externalities that can only be addressed through regional co-operation. However, success in this venture has been slow and marred by delay and stagnation. Against an international backdrop of changing political and economic priorities, Africa must plot a new course for its industrialisation and economic development, using the momentum of regional integration. However, the linear model of integration from goods markets to monetary and fiscal integration has slowed the progress towards integration in the world economy. The Southern African region provides a good example of what has been achieved so far on the continent. The importance of regional integration is being felt across the continent, as evidenced by African leaders now calling for a free trade area by 2017.