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Africa: Uneca report, the challenge of regional integration

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by: Gianfranco Belgrano | March 5, 2024

Although Africa represents a vital force in the global economy, its share in world trade remains less than 3%. This data emerged with concern in a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), which underlines how African countries continue to trade more with the rest of the world than with each other. The report assesses the progress of regional integration in Africa, revealing that, although there has been some progress, the path towards effective regional integration is slow.

The document highlights how African countries have not yet reached the macroeconomic convergence criteria, despite progress in monetary and financial integration. In particular, infrastructural development through the Program for the Development of Infrastructures in Africa (Pida) has achieved results that have not always lived up to expectations: while on the one hand there have been advances in the sector of roads and information and communication, rail transport and energy infrastructure have seen limited progress. Infrastructure financing remains a significant challenge for the continent.

Pida represents the African Union’s (AU) strategic framework for regional and continental infrastructural development. The report highlights some progress in fulfilling the first ten-year implementation plan (2014-2023) of Agenda 2063. Successes include the adoption of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and the creation of the Single Market African Air Transport.

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