Africa made world history on 21 March 2018 when it adopted the Agreement establishing its Continental Free Trade Area. This followed closely on another major Agreement adopted on 10 June 2015 establishing the Tripartite Free Trade Area covering half of Africa.
This book explains these diplomatic feats. Using Ilya Prigogine’s insights into how order emerges out of chaos and how the future provides vast opportunities for institutional engineering, the book traces the history of economic integration in Africa using a systems approach, showing how lessons from the experimentation at the regional levels have now been consolidated at the continental level through the mega agreements.
The book has three parts.
Part I sets out the theoretical underpinnings, the vision and the roadmap for regional and continental integration. African Economic integration is rooted in its impetus over the years for political and economic transformation. To this end, Africa has codified a long term vision and roadmap for gradually creating the African Economic Community.
Part II explains how the concrete economic integration programs got off the ground in various regions of Africa, and takes the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as a case study. Existential challenges provided the entry points for formulating and implementing targeted programs such as peace-keeping and trade facilitation, within an overall framework of developmental goals. Pertinent lessons were learnt, which resulted in more complexity and the need for grand consolidation among various regional bodies and eventually at the continental level.
Part III examines the negotiation and diplomatic process and learning that resulted in the Tripartite and Continental Free Trade Areas. Africa achieved what was unthinkable at a time.
The book ends with lessons learnt that can be carried forward. It seeks to inspire new generations of political and economic panafricanists to continue the efforts for structural transformation in order to improve human welfare and freedom.