Making Economic Integration Work in the Horn of Africa


(Above)  Shipping containers are unloaded in the port of Mombasa, Kenya. As one of the primary seaports in the Horn of Africa region, the port could be a key to deepening economic integration in the sub-region (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim).


Aklilu Shiketa

In the Horn of Africa, it is often presumed that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) provides an institutional framework for economic integration.

The African Union, for instance, recognizes IGAD as one of the continent’s premiere regional economic associations, alongside others such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (EAC).

While these groupings have pursued customs unions, free trade and even common currencies among their members, however, IGAD has yet to accomplish even the most basic steps toward regional economic integration. Its plan to create a free trade area by 2012 failed with…

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