Study for the quantification of Regional Economic Communities (RECS) rationalization scenarios

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Publication Date: 
05 September 2013
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The study for the quantification of the RECs rationalization scenarios was conducted on the basis of AU policy guidelines, the surveys conducted in that context and the discussions held between the study experts and the chief executives of the eight (8) RECs recognized by the African Union (AU).

The quantification was carried out in two stages: the first helped to give a more concrete content to the scenarios identified by AU, ascertain their feasibility and deduce therefrom a membership configuration. The second stage of the study was devoted to an appraisal of the impact of each scenario on key macro-economic variables.

The exploratory work regarding the feasibility of the scenarios resulted in the formulation of the following proposals:

With regard to regional membership of each African country and the possibilities of rationalization, the main observation is that the search for “optimal attachment” does not mean that the State concerned should leave any of the RECs in the event of multiple memberships.

As a matter of fact, cooperation between the RECs take numerous forms, ranging from the problems of border security to economic and monetary, and indeed political union, all of which allow for the co-existence of regional communities that have different vocations.

Thus, rather than renounce any of the RECs, the problems likely to be generated by multiple memberships can the resolved:

(i) Either by the co-existence of the RECs with distinct and/or complementary vocations seeking to harmonize their policies – the case, for example, of ECOWAS and CEN-SAD or, indeed, of IGAD and COMESA;

(ii) Or through the emergence of initiatives aimed at bringing together the RECs, as is the case of Tripartite. This initiative in fact constitutes an original response which, if successful, can be adapted to address the issue of rationality of the on-going regional integration processes and their convergence towards the Abuja Treaty; hence the strong focus on this initiative in the reflection carried out in this study;

(iii) Or by membership of several RECs with the choice of an anchorage community.