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The Promise of Regional Integration in Africa

Over the past three decades, the expansion of the global marketplace for goods, capital, labor and ideas has forged ever-closer integration among countries and regions. Global markets have served as the mainstays of economic growth, particularly for developing countries. Merchandise exports from and foreign direct investment into developing countries has soared. Regions that have embraced this integration – most notably East Asia and the Pacific and more recently South Asia – have achieved unprecedented economic growth and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Others that have been more reluctant to embrace integration, both regionally and globally, have made much less progress.

Nowhere is the need for a shift toward greater integration more urgent than in Africa – a continent which despite strong growth in recent years, is still largely marginalized from the global economy. Inadequate access and connectivity to regional and global markets and insufficient scale economies are at the root of this marginalization – problems compounded by the continent’s unique physical, economic and political geography. Regional integration and cooperation offers the means to overcome many of these constraints and achieve strong and sustainable growth and development.

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Benefits of Regional Integration and Cooperation
Larger and More Competitive Economic Spaces
Connecting Landlocked Countries
Lowering the Cost and Increasing the Impact of Infrastructure Investment
Managing Shared Natural Resources and Regional Public Goods
Increased Security and Improved Conflict Resolution

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