Regional Integration


IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS: African countries are vigorously using regional co-operation and integration as a strategy to achieve sustainable economic growth and development as well as be an effective and major player in the global marketplace. However the pace of integration has been slow and progress is very mixed. Cognisance of the slow pace of a continent-wide integration, African leadership has provided a framework under which the integration agenda would be carried out. This framework is enshrined in the 1991 Abuja Treaty of African Heads of State and Government. Under the framework of the Treaty, Africa would become an economic union by 2027, with a common currency, full mobility of the factors of production and free trade among the 53 countries that make up the continent.

To achieve this vision, the Treaty suggests that the process of integration or the creation of Africa Economic Community (AEC) be carried out over a period of 34 years (1994-2027), in six different stages of different duration: (1) to establish free trade areas and custom unions at the regional level; (2) to stabilize existing tariff and non-tariff barriers, customs duties and internal taxes as well strengthen sectoral integration at the sub-regional and continental levels in areas such as trade, agriculture, transport, money and finance; (3) to create free trade areas and customs unions at the level of the RECs; (4) to coordinate and harmonize tariff and non-tariff barriers among RECs, setting the stage for a free trade area and a customs union at the AEC level.; (5) to establish the African Common Market; and (6) to establish the African Economic Community (AEC) culminating in the creation of a Pan-African Economic and Monetary Union with a single currency for the continent.

A key challenge in RI is the slow implementation of integration process by African countries arising from lack of necessary institutional mechanisms for achieving their objectives. This is often evident in inconsistencies between national legislation and integration commitments and mechanisms and in the absence of strong enforcement mechanisms. RI initiatives require a large degree of public management and implementation at national levels. Without an absolute commitment to implementation at the national level, there can be no progress at the sub-regional and continental levels. Therefore, doing nothing or little to implement agreed programs at the national level can severely hamper the integration agenda.

To foster integration and turn it into leverage for development, member States have to come out with clear “mainstreaming” strategies for domesticating the Africa-wide RI agenda into National Development Plans (NDPs). The process of mainstreaming refers to the systematic integration of the objectives and related initiatives of RI as well as the process of creating ownership of the agenda into the overall NDPs, poverty reduction strategies and in the society in order to attain the “popular legitimacy” necessary for the success of RI. More broadly, the concept of mainstreaming RI should ultimately contribute to economic growth, poverty alleviation and overall socio-economic development. Though crucial to Africa’s development, the concept of mainstreaming RI is still little understood or practiced, hence the need to build the capacity to implement it in African countries.

Course Authors/Directors/Lecturers: Dr. Alfred Latigo and Professor Raphael Olaniyan

Course Language: English

(1) Overview: Regional Integration (RI) Process; Types of Regional Integration; What is Mainstreaming RI?; The Challenges of Mainstreaming Regional Integration;

(2) A Framework for Mainstreaming RI in National Development Plans: Phase I – Making the Case – Understanding the Linkages between RI, National Development Plans and Socio-Economic Development; Phase 2: Assessing the Status of Domesticating RI in Regional Economic Communities (RECs); Phase 3: National Planning Process & Entry Points for RI; Phase 4: Engagement with the National Development Process; Phase 5: Building National Implementation Capacity;

(3) Principles of Country-led RI Process.

Regional Integration (RI): Concepts and Theories

National Development Plans

Regional Economic Communities (RECs): Experience in Regionalism

Macroeconomic Policy and Institutional Convergence

Income Convergence

National Integration Institutions and Capacity

Regional Infrastructure

Intra-Africa Trade & International Trade

University degree in Economics, Development, Engineering, Social Sciences and related fields required. Although prior knowledge in RI is not a prerequisite, the course will be particularly important for those officials already working in governments, RECs, UN, AfDB, the Private Sector, NGOs, and other institutions concerned with planning, implementing and monitoring & evaluation of RI.

Upon completion, the course participant will gain practical understanding and deeper insights in the application of the framework for Mainstreaming RI in National development Plans. Overall, the course participant will be able to plan, schedule manage, monitor and evaluate the process of RI at national and regional levels.

Course Materials

Course resources will be available at the Flowers Online Learning portal, enriched through case studies and practical exercises.

Course Length

Complete between 4.5 − 12 months at your own pace

Teaching Method



Candidates must achieve a minimum of 60% to be awarded the Diploma in Mainstreaming Regional Integration in National Development Plans.


Continuous assessment or exercises as you progress.

Option #1: Instructor-facilitated Online Study

Course Venue: Flowers Online Learning (FOL) portal

Course Fee: US $150.00

Rolling (Open Enrolment)

FOL Access Length: 12 months

Click here to apply


Option #2: Instructor-led Blended Learning

Course Venues: In-Class and FOL

Course Fee: US $500

Click here to apply