Discussion Papers

October 8, 2014

Regional Integration In Africa: Some Recent Developments And Challenges

African countries have been left out of the recent benefits accruing from international trade. For example, they accounted for only 3.2 percent of world trade in 2013 compared to 5 percent in the mid-1960s. Regional integration can reverse this weak performance as it holds the promise for countries to gain from the resultant economies of scale and enhanced competitiveness. It will also help to expand the markets for foreign direct investment.

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Author:Idris Ademuyiwa and Eberechukwu Uneze

Publication Date: October 2014

Document Size: 8 pages

Similarly, apart from assuaging Africas greatest economic problem (i.e. the high incidence of poverty), regional integration will go a long way in addressing non-economic problems like recurring conflicts and political instability as well as weak bargaining power in the multilateral front. It is in recognition of these potentials that all countries in the region belong to at least one regional economic community (REC). In fact, the plan is to merge and consolidate the RECs in Africa to form the African Economic Community (AEC) over a period of 34 years in six phases. While these efforts are timely and have begun to yield sparse successes in terms of deepening integration and improving the wellbeing of Africans, some challenges remain.

This article attempts to identify some of the achievements that have been made in regional integration in Africa as well as areas where challenges remain. It also attempts to examine the roles that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) can play in the integration process.



Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 4)

Recently released labour force report by the NBS shows a quarter-over-quarter increase in Nigerias working age and labour force population. Working population rose from 110.29 million in 2017Q2, to 111.13 million persons in 2017Q32. The working age population in 2017Q3 constituted 85.08 million persons in the labour force (an increase from 83.94 million), of which 40 percent were either unemployed or underemployed.  Thus, total employed persons in the quarter reached 69.1 million.

Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 1)

Nigerias external reserves improved in 2017. The reserve stood at approximately $39 billion as at the end of December 2017, up by about 50 percent from the $26 billion at the beginning of the year 20172. The surge in reserve was particularly boosted by increased capital importation, and crude revenue earnings prompted by a relatively higher crude oil price and improved domestic production. Given that the recent uptick in external reserves is still largely associated with improved crude oil price, efforts should be geared towards conserving current reserve gain so as to cushion future external shock. In the medium term, there is need to diversify export earning away from oil so as to mitigate the effects of volatility in crude oil prices.

Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 51)

Recently released data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that there was significant increase in Nigerias total merchandise trade for 2016Q3. Basically, the total merchandise trade increased (quarter-on-quarter) by 16.29 percent to N4, 722 billion in 2016Q3;owing to 29.1 percent increase in exports and 6.2 percent rise in imports. Oil exports increased by 31 percent to N1, 943 billion, while non-oil exports increased by 20.5 percent to N440 billion. However, on the aggregate, Nigeria recorded yet another trade deficit of N104 billion, indicating continuous higher imports relative to exports. Overall, though there is improvement in the performance of non-oil sector, however, this is insufficient to effectively complement the loss in oil trade sustained since the beginning of oil price crash. This suggests that diversification into non-oil sector may not be able to rescue the economy in the short term. However, while the diversification efforts should be sustained, eliminating hurdles in oil production may be instrumental to higher exports, especially as oil price increase is gaining momentum.