Regional integration and development in Africa: Between the present realities and overcoming future challenges
Since independence in the late 50s and early 60s, regional integration in Africa has been identified as an important strategy for the acceleration of development in the continent. The reality of the post-Cold War international economic world order also stimulates the intensification and fine-tuning of existing regional arrangements leading to the establishment of a supra-national organisation and capacity building institutions to address the problems of underdevelopment in Africa. As a consequence, integration groupings have been reorganised and created but their achievements have largely been modest due to an inappropriate integration approach. It is against this background that this article examines the interlocking nexus between regional integration and development in Africa, and maintains that Africans need to adjust their orientation as well as take a major shift towards economic complementarity among member states of integration blocs for the actualisation of laudable development. It concludes that inward looking and the involvement of all Africans in regional integration processes would be the best approach for regional integration to foster development.
Keywords: Integration, regional organisation, development, growth, Africa