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Regional Economic Communities

The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are regional groupings of African states and are the pillars of the AU. All were formed prior to the launch of the AU and

have developed individually and have differing roles and structures.

The purpose of the RECs is to facilitate regional economic integration between members of the individual regions and through the wider African Economic Community (AEC), which was established under the Abuja Treaty (1991). This Treaty, which has been in operation since 1994, ultimately seeks to create an African Common Market using the RECs as building blocks.

The AU recognises eight RECs namely:

Arab Maghreb Union (UMA)

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

• Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN–SAD)

East African Community (EAC)

• Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

Southern African Development Community (SADC).