Economic integration

Deepening African Economic Integration – International Trade and Investment

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The African Union (AU) is commemorating African Integration Day with a two-day event in Lusaka, Zambia from July 6-8, 2022, exploring the e-commerce potential of the African Single Market. On July 8, 2022, the Boma from Africa will make its third comeback since 2019. The Boma presents a three-part exhibition of major pan-African initiatives as well as a global symposium to take stock of progress towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. AU.

The theme of this year’s African Integration Day, commemorated this week by the African Union, is “Deeper African Economic Integration in the Era of De-Globalization”. It is set against the backdrop of Africa’s economic recovery post-COVID and the profound implications of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The adverse effects of the two events on the African continent have further underscored the need for a more integrated and interdependent continent that is resilient in the face of global economic shocks.

The importance of African economic integration was reiterated at the just-concluded 54th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Economic Development. Africa on May 12, 2022 in Dakar, Senegal. During the conferenceMinisters urged African states to increase intra-African trade to absorb economic shocks caused by the global rise in commodity prices.

African economies will need to leverage existing integration initiatives to foster economic recovery and transformation. Key to these initiatives is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is now in its operational phase. As of May 2022, 43 countries out of the 54 signatories in Africa had deposited their instruments of ratification with the Depositary Chairperson of the African Union Commission in favor of the AfCFTA. Similarly, the continent’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have played and will continue to play a key role in economic integration efforts on the continent. Their role is recognized in the AfCFTA agreement where the RECs are seen as building blocks in the creation of the AfCFTA.

To date, integration initiatives have shown positive progress towards economic integration. The African Integration Report 2021, which focuses on the state of regional integration on the continent, gave an overall assessment score of 0.62 on a scale of 0 to 1 for the integration process within the continent. The level of integration varied between RECs, with the Economic Community of West African States emerging as the most integrated REC with a score of 0.74.


Overall AMRII scores by REC Source: AUC, 2021

Overall, economic integration in Africa is critical to the economic recovery of African states which have historically been susceptible to global economic shocks due to pronounced interdependence with third states and low intra-African trade. Going forward, the ongoing integration initiatives are poised to promote the economic development of African states.

Trade-related developments for the first half of 2022

In commemoration of African Integration Day, we have prepared a compilation of published articles that have covered some of the most important trade-related developments in Africa this year:

  1. Uganda is adopting Kiswahili as an official language of the EAC as a means of deepening and broadening integration. Click here to read the full article.

  2. African trade ministers have agreed to allow trade in some 850 products under the AfCFTA’s rules of origin protocol. Click here to read the full article.

  3. One year of free trade in Africa calls for celebration despite the start-up problems. Click here to read the full article.

  4. African countries would benefit from expanding their participation in international trade and global value chains to transform at scale. Click here to read the full article.

  5. Milestones reached in Africa on integration on the continent.
    Click here to read the full article.

  6. Lack of regional integration, culture frustrating ECOWAS cross-border trade. Click here to read the full article.

  7. The African Union is moving rapidly towards integration despite the challenges. Click here to read the full article.

  8. The Democratic Republic of Congo officially joins the EAC after signing the Treaty of Accession to the Community. Click here to read the full article.

  9. Report: Growing Intra-African Trade Through Digital Transformation of Border and Customs Services. Click here to download the full article.

  10. March. Click here to read the full article.

  11. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is having a negative impact on sustainable development and economic recovery in Africa after COVID 19. Click here to read the full article.

  12. 7 Ways to Accelerate AfCFTA Implementation. Click here to read the full article.

  13. Zambia will renegotiate the ZLECAf agreement. Click here to read the full article.

  14. Kenya launches the Nairobi International Financial Center (NIFC). Click here to read the full article.

  15. Use trade to protect yourself, AfCFTA tells African nations.
    Click here to read the full article.

  16. Fixing the pan-African payment system for start-ups. Click here to read the full article.



  1. Jade Makory, Partner

  2. Kelly Nyaga, Trainee Lawyer

  3. Joanna Kahumbu, Trainee Lawyer

  4. Mdathir Issa Timamy, Trainee Lawyer

  5. Larry Chula, Intern

Originally published 8 Jul 22

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