Regional integration and African development: Issues and approaches
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)Niser, IBada;
Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research;
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Africans and their leaders axe becoming more convinced than ever before that integration is one way by which the relevance of the continent can be established in an increasingly globalizing world. The drive towards continent-wide integration in Africa is gathering momentum essentially to sensitize Africans to redress past development failures and intensify the process of integration as a means of putting the continent on the path of sustainable growth and development. Within the context of African development therefore, regionalism has to go beyond economic integration and economic gains. It has to provide the enabling environment for economic, political and socio-cultural development and solidarity. Essentially, a new approach to regionalism is one that continues to recognize and strengthen the emerging emphasis on trade and associated principles of common market, preferential trading arrangements, custom union and economies of scale but which, at the same time, should not foreclose partnerships and issues that are not purely trade-related. Economic integration and especially trade-related issues have received generous attention by analysts and scholars although the African perspectives need to be further explored and sharpened. What seem to be under-emphasized or outrightly overlooked are chronic problems in various parts of the continent but which require concerted efforts to address at sub-regional or regional level.