The Committee on Regional Cooperation and Integration (CRCI) was established by resolution 827 (XXXII) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of Ministers. The Committee meets on a biennial basis at ECA to review the work undertaken in the current biennium under sub programme 2 on regional integration and trade. It also uses the opportunity to review and deliberate on developments in the sectoral areas under the coverage of the sub programme and make recommendations that are to guide the work under the sub programme during the next biennium. Accordingly, at its tenth session, the Committee is expected to convene in Addis Ababa on 1 and 2 November 2017 to undertake the aforementioned review for the 2016-2017 biennium and deliberate on the envisaged work for the 2018-2019 biennium.
Parliamentary documentation has been prepared in the key areas of the sub programme, namely, regional integration; intra-Africa trade; industrialization; infrastructure; investment; food security, agriculture; land governance and management; and regional value chains development.
The 10th Session has the overarching theme of “Implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area and shared Gains”. It has long been known that a major challenge in Africa is not a lack of good policies or strategies, but a lack of their effective implementation. Crucial to implementation is an understanding of the political economy underpinning economic integration in Africa. The insights from this perspective can help to frame the policy choices and institutional arrangements required for effective implementation.
Structural transformation and regional integration are key success factors for Africa while infrastructure development is a key enabler of it. To maximize the potential of CFTA implementation, while minimizing the risks attached, scaling up infrastructure assets, industrial output and innovation in Africa is an imperative and jointly beneficial to move the continent from deep-seated continued scarce resource drains to greater and tangible shared gains.
The 10th Session of the CRCI will lean to reiterate continued support for both the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) and the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
The tenth session will also host five parallel, pre-session ad hoc Expert Group Meetings on 31 October. These meetings will serve as a platform to discuss with experts the results of studies conducted during the biennium under sub programme 2, with a view to sharing and validating the policy recommendations emanating from these studies with the Committee members.
The five ad hoc Expert Group Meetings will be on the following topics:
1- A review of policy options to strengthen agribusiness, agro industries and regional value chains as pathways to sustainable and inclusive African transformation;
2- A review and study of how the promotion of Africa’s industrialization can be strengthened through infrastructure development;
3- A look at policy options for boosting intra-African investment through the regional harmonization of investment policies and treaties;
4- Trade, gender and human rights as a way to provide a platform for regional economic communities to share experiences about gender mainstreaming and offer a way forward on how they can more effectively support member States in incorporating gender into trade policy;
5- Brexit and trade between Africa and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from an African perspective.
Participants at the Committee session are cordially invited to attend any of the above indicated EGMs.