The case for regional integration and economic cooperation in Africa has been made and backed by significant organizations inside and outside of Africa. A most notable external reaffirmation of the necessity of regional economic integration and cooperation in Africa came from the former U.N. Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in December 1993. He was addressing the Panel of High-Level Personalities on African Development that he had appointed to advise him on the process of implementing the U.N. New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s.

     The Secretary-General previously in Africa Recovery (Dec. 1993) had

...noted that regional cooperation and integration was one of the key areas for the future development of Africa. Regional markets can provide export alternatives for local producers. Regional projects can help to rationalize the use of resources and talent. Through regional alliances, African countries can give themselves the means to negotiate more favorable terms with their international counterparts.... Regional economic cooperation does not happen without great effort and great planning.

Additionally, he had made recommendations to the U. N. General Assembly and to the O.A.U. on the coordination required of all organizations and countries engaged in regional integration. He was looking "forward to hearing from the Panel on how best to implement these and other practical recommendations to enhance regional cooperation."

     The World Bank also was encouraging an economic development strategy that recognized the advantages associated with regional integration. Edward V. K. Jaycox, the World Bank's Africa Region Vice President at the time, publicized his thoughts in an article on challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically in southern and South Africa. Mr. Jaycox wrote in "The Chance of a Lifetime" (1994):

The countries of southern Africa will not develop to their potential if they are not economically integrated. Economic integration would expand markets and employment opportunities, allow more efficient investment, promote the diffusion of technology and attract foreign investment. The elimination of trade barriers between countries in southern Africa could double the volume of trade in the region. Economic integration is the key to creating the kind of competitive environment that promotes innovation and would expand the ranks of the region's entrepreneurs.


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May 2000