Regional integration will encourage the spread of technical innovation and allow nations to compete on the global market with more sophisticated economies.
It also has the potential to drive more strong and fair economic growth, as well as reduce poverty and unemployment in Africa.
These were part of the findings of a monthly survey carried out by the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFIC) and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday.
The survey which was Africa’s Regional Integration under the AfCFTA: the economic impact, focused on the Regional Economic Communities of Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)and Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS)
It was led by Mr Gerald Ekow Woode Lead-Research Fellow (Policy and Advocate) of GITFIC.
It said the experience had shown that the benefits could only be realized via the cautious utilization of chances for deeper regional integration.
“Giving African manufacturers access to regional markets and connecting them to more complex regional value chains would boost their competitiveness and capability for advancement into more competitive global niches. When seen in this light, regional integration is critical to increasing productivity and creating long-term gains in living standards.”
The survey added that regional integration offered African countries the opportunity to discuss a paramount limitation to export competitiveness placed by the small size of their economic systems and geography/transport costs, while also acting as a powerful tool for promoting product and export diversity, thereby increasing their countries’ prospects for growth and development.
It said the integration would also generate incentives for governments to pursue less distortive domestic policies and more disciplined macroeconomic management and could assist regions in achieving economies of scale, as well as increasing their supply capacity and competitiveness.
“Africa will be able to complete critical missing links, interconnect the continent, and implement reforms to allow cross-border commerce, investments, financial flows, and migration through targeted regional infrastructure.”
It said increased and deeper integration would improve food security by permitting greater intra African commerce in food items, as well as encouraging the growth of international production chains and value addition in Africa.
The GITFIC recommended that the realization of the economic growth and development objectives of Africa should remain the core aspirations of each partner states.
“This is an objective that will continue to bind the region and lead to the seeking of newer and more innovative ways to better integrate the region’s economies in order to weather the 21st– century global economic storms.”
It also appealed to states to go beyond the traditional preoccupation with state sovereignty towards the adoption of more collective approaches for the attainment of economic growth and development assessing the integration’s development thus far in relation to the goals and targets established at the start of the regional integration process.
It called for increased stakeholder participation in policy harmonization and coordination and the role of the private sector and civil society, in particular, must be expanded, and greater collaboration in the form of public-private partnerships must be explored.
GITFIC also called for more specialized studies on Africa, notably on how to create more diversification of African economies and closer economic integration as these were several options to extend the region’s economic foundation.
“The outcomes of this research should guide the policy initiatives that must be implemented in order for the integration process to function properly.”