A revisiting of African integration: economic growth through self-sustainment?
Sammanfattning: African exports that end up in other African countries today is less than 20%, a low value compared to that of Europe, Asia and America, all above 50%. However, these intra-African exports are more diversified than African exports reaching other continents. Specifically, it is comprised of higher quality goods that stimulate stronger and more stable economic growth. To capitalize on this, various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have emerged throughout the continent, reducing trade costs for common members via tariff elimination. The next step in regional economic integration is the implementation of an African continental free trade area, called the AfCFTA. Signed by all 55 African countries and slated to enter into force in July 2020, this agreement aims to strengthen the trading block. Taking a historical and qualitative approach, this work evaluates the RECs’ success in achieving their goals by analyzing three case studies: Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. Looking specifically at whether it has stimulated export diversification, structural transformation, and regional supply chain formation, we find that although African countries have seemingly a lot to gain in terms of export diversification –in increasing intra-African trade– both national and regional efforts have come up short in realizing it.
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