ADB Working Paper Series on Regional Economic Integration 85
Since the 1960s, African states have embraced regional integration as a vital mechanism for political cooperation and for pooling resources to overcome problems of small and fragmented economies. In building meaningful institutions for regionalism, however, Africans have faced the challenges of reconciling the diversities of culture, geography, and politics. As a result, African regional institutions are characterized by multiple and competing mandates and weak institutionalization. This study illustrates these themes by comparing two continental institutions—the African Union and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and subregional institutions—the Economic Commission of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African States, the Common Market for East and Southern African States, the Community of the Sahel-Saharan States, and the Arab Maghreb Union. By focusing on the institutional structures, mandates, and contributions of these organizations in their geographical domains, the study probes the links between policy articulation and outcomes. The conclusion focuses on lessons that African regionalism can inform Asian integration experiences.
African Regionalism Regional Integration Africa African Union United Nation’s Economic Commission for Africa