Regional Organisations and Africa's Development Challenges

Publication Date: 
Item Reference: 
PB- 2022- 06
Publication Place: 
UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
Publication Language: 
Policy Brief Type: 

Agenda 2063, Africa’s master plan for development, calls for improved capacities of institutions and organisations at continental, regional, and national levels alongside the restructuring and review of their mandates. Achieving the aspirations and goals of Agenda 2063 requires cooperation, coordination, and harmonisation of the rich diversity of regional organisations (ROs) on the continent.

This study covers all pan-African (continental) and regional (sub-continental) intergovernmental organisations with an African membership constituency, ranging from the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to all task-specific ROs, such as the Inter-African Coffee Organization. It also includes the specialised and technical agencies (STAs) of the AU and the RECs as these operate in a similar fashion to the more autonomous task-specific ROs. Multiple, crisscrossing memberships and mandates form a complex web of inter-organisational overlaps.

From this analysis follow several policy recommendations that outline how Africa’s ROs can meet the continent’s development needs. They underline that ROs need to get realistic about their focus and priorities, that institutional capacities need to be strengthened, the role of member states and donors, but also the need to manage inter-organisational overlaps and that dysfunctional organisations ought to be dismantled or drastically reformed.