Economic Integration

Infrastructure development and environment for inclusive economic development industrialization, private sector-led intra-African Trade and sustainable utilization of natural resources created

By all accounts, Africa’s economic growth and performance this past decade has been exceptionally strong, even in the midst of widespread global economic crisis and recession. The growth however has not resulted in significant and commensurate declines in poverty levels, nor has it been rich in jobs. In a large measure, the growth has not also been sufficiently inclusive. Low intra-African trade, limited integration and infrastructure connectedness are additional obstacles to boosting the global competitiveness of African economies and contributing to the elimination of poverty. The continent needs to accelerate efforts towards continental integration, boost intra-African trade and improve connectivity through infrastructure development. Much has been achieved to date, but the road ahead is still far.

The Commission under this outcome will work to promote policies and programmes for inclusive growth and job creation (especially for women, youth, and PWDs) and accelerate progress towards achievements of the MDGs. Measures to reduce or eliminate economic and social marginalization will be promoted. Support programmes will be designed and implemented to help member states adopt policies on inclusive growth.

The Commission will seek to strengthen the framework for continental integration and continental and global cooperation frameworks, such as accelerating progress towards the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area, harmonization of monetary policies and other standards (including statistics and labour market information, customs, etc), and measures to boost market access. The Commission will redouble its efforts to boost intra-African trade, and support private sector development through improved business climate. Measures will be taken to accelerate the establishment of the 2ndFTA Tripartite Agreement (ECOWAS, ECCAS, AMU and CEN-SAD).

Trade facilitation will be promoted by the Commission through support for the High Level Trade Committee of Heads of State and RECs’ CEOs, the Conference of African Ministers of Trade, establishment of the African Trade Forum and facilitation of the forum on non-tariff barriers.

On Private Sector development, the Commission will support development and adoption of the Pan African Investment Code, development of private sector strategic plans and facilitate the establishment of SME charters in Member States. Special attention will be paid to promoting/facilitating youth and women entrepreneurship, through policy development, capacity building and information and experience exchanges.

The development of infrastructure and connectivity between the different African countries is key to Africa’s integration efforts to facilitate people to people relations and to facilitate intra African trade. Infrastructure is one of the key factors hindering the successful integration of the African continent into the global trading system due to high trade costs, especially for landlocked countries-poor infrastructure accounts for 40per cent of transport costs for coastal counties and 60per cent for landlocked ones .

Although progress has been made on infrastructure, the Commission will accelerate implementation of PIDA Priority Action Plan through the operationalization of the institutional architecture for infrastructure development and ensuring mobilization of adequate resources. Measures will be taken to complete the missing links in Africa Transport and ICT infrastructure networks. The Commission will work to increase the ratification of a number of Common Civil Aviation, and marine/surface transport policies. The access to efficient, reliable cost-effective and environmentally friendly modern energy services will be promoted, and the Commission will also seek to ensure improved integrated water resource management for holistic development of the continent.

The Commission will promote implementation of programmes on tourism and intra-African Postal services development. Efforts will be deployed to harmonize standards, develop guidelines and frameworks, and facilitate their implementation in the fields of transport, tourism, postal sector, renewable energy (Geothermal, Hydro, solar, bio-energy and wind), fossil fuel and in building harmonized framework for the African Information society.

To implement these strategies and actions under this outcome, the Commission's department of Infrastructure and Energy will take the lead. For each output under this outcome the lead AUC departments, the cooperating departments and the external partners have been identified.

RECs and Member States' institutions are the principal actors in the implementation and monitoring of actions on the ground, working closely with the NPCA.