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Africa in 2014: The many stages of African unity

By The Africa Report
Posted on Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:04

According to the United Nations, intra-African trade only accounts for 10-12% of the continent’s total, and structural reforms are needed to boost it.

East Africa has made Africa’s fastest progress towards economic integration.

In late 2013, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda launched a much-delayed single customs territory.

But discontent in Tanzania about the pace of integration and an angry outburst by President Jakaya Kikwete about being left out of meetings could complicate discussions within the East African Community (EAC).

Despite enthusiasm for monetary union at the institutional level, in private, bank governors and finance ministers are sceptical. ●

INTEGRATION
Clear progress
From January 2014, citizens of the Communauté Économique des États de l’Afrique Centrale (CEEAC) will enjoy freedom of movement for 90 days without applying for visas. Also from January, there will be a $100 single joint tourist visa available for Kenya, Uganda and rwanda.
Tricky talks
There are plans for a customs union in 2015 for members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Plans for an African Standby force have morphed into an interim African Capacity for immediate response to Crises and will be high on the agenda in 2014.
Plans stalled
A single currency in east Africa – first planned for 2016 and now for 2023 – and another in West Africa – first planned for 2015 and delayed until 2020 – look to be low priorities in the regions. the African Union is discussing a continental free trade area that would be implemented by 2017 at the earliest.

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