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News Analysis: Integration key in transforming African economies


10:46, May 26, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) -- As the African Union (AU) commemorates 50th anniversary and refocuses its agenda for the coming years, the integration of the continent's economies is seen as a vital element which should be pursued vigorously.

While efforts have been made to integrate African economies through individual regional economic blocs, the challenge now is how to translate that into integrating the entire African continent.

According to analysts, African nations cannot compete on the global agenda on their own and they need to integrate so that they compete as a single entity.

There has been a realization that the integration process of Africa had remained incomplete over the years as various regional economic groupings are moving at different rates while issues of promoting intra-Africa trade remain a challenge.

The continent faces various challenges in integrating economies because of various obstacles, among them failure to remove non- tariff barriers, restrictions on the free movement of people, goods and services, among others.

These will have to be tackled as leaders endeavor to secure Africa's renaissance in the coming years.

"We recognize the efforts of various regional economic blocs though we are mindful that these groupings are moving at different levels and what we would like to advise them is to learn from each other's experience as we try to integrate the entire continent," Fatima Haram Acyl, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said during a press briefing held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

The AU, she said, intends to embark on an ambitious program of harmonizing all the efforts of various regional groupings in realizing the integration process of the continent.

While other nations from other parts of the world are currently experiencing economic downturn, the African continent has witnessed sustained growth, with the growth for 2013 expected to be around six percent, according to African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr. Donald Kaberuka who was addressing a business forum on the role of Africa's private sector over the next 50 years.

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