| Implicit in the statements of then U. N.
Secretary-General and the World Bank Vice President is the need for an institutional
focus on this topic. A development-oriented academic institute, designed to pursue
research and planning strategies, can help practitioners successfully turn the aspirations
for Africa's economic integration successfully into practical results. Such an institute
can also develop and test strategies that help them, via practical workshops, seminars and
inservice training, to unravel the obstacles that have continued to burden down and hinder
economic integration and cooperation in Africa. The institute, located at an institution
such as the Washington, DC-based Howard University, could contribute in a large measure
towards the success of this effort by developing specific strategies through which
multilateral organizations, including the African Leadership Forum, the OAU and the UN
itself, and African and U.S. governments could concretely help to increase substantively
this process in Africa.
In 1982, the World Bank published its first major study on African economic development,
entitled Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (widely referred to as
"The Berg Report" after its senior author, Elliot Berg). Although the Lagos
Plan of Action and the Berg Report differed in many approaches to Africa's economic
"crisis" [see Robert S. Browne & Robert J. Cummings, The Lagos Plan of
Action vs. The Berg Report (1985)], there was no dispute between the two on the role
of "Regionalism" in Africa's economic advancement.
Notwithstanding the obstacles in the way of regional economic cooperation and integration
noted in the World Bank Report, Dr. Elliot Berg thought that "regional economic
cooperation (was) essential in loosening long-term development constraints facing many
African states." He went further to plead that "the donor community should help
African governments move toward this objective, since regional economic cooperation and
ultimate integration are important for the reduction of long-term obstacles to
development, in several respects."
A workshop on regional integration and cooperation was organized by the World Bank in 1988
as part of a conference entitled The Long-Term Perspective Study of Sub-Saharan Africa.
This workshop was the World Bank's "first comprehensive assessment of regional
efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa, [and its] report identified regional integration and
cooperation as essential elements for long-term sustainable growth."