AED 10.00

ISBN: 978-9948-797-06-7

26 Feb 2023
Economic Trends Series (6)

Regional Economic Communities Driving Sustainable Economic Growth in Africa

Johan Burger

Executive Summary

Regional integration in Africa has long been a feature of its trade relations. Despite the many regional economic communities in existence in Africa, the continent has only seen 17% intra-African trade. It is indeed easier for Africa to trade with foreign countries than with itself. Many factors have led to this situation, including both tariffs and non-tariff barriers. In addition, it seems that Africa’s leaders cannot subordinate national interest to regional interest. Conflicts within regions have aggravated the situation. The reality is that there are many opportunities on the continent, despite the many challenges decision-makers face in managing trade relations. The AfCFTA has been hailed as a mechanism to deal with the opportunities and challenges on the continent. It promises to provide many benefits to African economies. At this stage, the AfCFTA is still only potential as, until quite recently, no trade has taken place under the auspices of the AfCFTA. Several factors have influenced this sad situation. Fortunately, the recently adopted Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) has sparked potential trades. This paper addresses the purpose and benefits of regional economic agreements, with specific reference to the AfCFTA. It also addresses the challenges facing regional economic integration in primarily East Africa. The paper also identifies the potential in the pharmaceutical, automotive, and agricultural sectors. In addition, it identifies some of the measures to boost and measure the level of regional integration, as well as specific initiatives to boost the AfCFTA.

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Johan Burger is the Business Development Manager for Executive Education at the College of Business and Economics at UAE University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He regularly serves as a panelist and moderator at webinars, locally and in Singapore. He is the former director of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies and was a senior lecturer in International Business at the Nanyang Business School in Singapore. He previously served as the director of international programs at Stellenbosch Business School (SBS) in South Africa. He taught Strategic Management, General Management, and Financial Analysis to MBA students and business executives. In addition, he held the position of research associate at the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) at the SBS, for whom he still serves as a researcher. He writes monthly scan articles for the IFR, addressing topics of interest for the associate members of the IFR. He traveled abroad extensively during his stint at the USB and developed a global network amongst business schools. His previous experience includes serving as the managing director of a medium- sized insurance company, and the CEO of an executive education company. His research interests include business models, emerging markets, growth opportunities, and Africa. He has published numerous articles on Africa in various publications. He has an MBA (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch, three honors degrees (Military History, Strategic Studies, and Business Administration all cum laude), and a bachelor's in Military Science (cum laude).