Support and political will of African leaders is very critical in order to effectively promote regional integration but also allow capacity building institutions and development partners to play their role.
In an address delivered on Thursday during a session of the African Leadership Academy held in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, the ACBF Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie said that despite relative success over the years, efforts from member states of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and pan African institutions to foster regional integration have been hindered by their lack of enforcing capacity and inadequacies in human resource capacity, which compromise policy design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the projects or programs.
“For instance, many protocols have been signed but remain unimplemented, due to ineffective and inadequate implementation capacity. In some RECs where capacity exists, it is neither optimally used nor sufficiently nurtured,” Prof. Nnadozie said.
He called on African leaders to partner with, and listen to, capacity building institutions, contribute financially to capacity building programs, projects and institutions to ensure ownership and sustainability, and support mobilisation of financial support towards development of national capacity building strategies. “African leaders should also champion the revision of budget nomenclature to incorporate a budget line on capacity building,” Prof. Nnadozie added.
African countries should also strengthen existing institutions for regional integration by ensuring that adequate administrative and financial resources are available, supporting the funding of capacity building interventions, especially in designing, operating, and monitoring regional programs and projects. They should also pay attention to human capacity in trade-related issues, organizational capacity in fiscal policy and financial market development, as well as institutional capacity in fiscal policy and development of capacity building programs and emphasize the retention and use of skills, not just their acquisition.
“Strengthening research and knowledge and experience sharing, and ensuring that various legal frameworks are harmonized and made coherent, and that continental objectives and those of the RECs are aligned with Agenda 2063 should not be neglected either,” Prof. Nnadozie concluded.
Regional integration has been a priority focus for ACBF and some of its regional interventions over the last 24 years have seen the Foundation conduct studies leading to the publication of flagship reports such as A Survey of the Capacity Needs of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities in 2008 - update forthcoming – or the Africa Capacity Report on Capacity Imperatives for Regional Integration.
The Foundation has also invested in capacity building through financial support at continental level to the African Union (AU) and at regional level to the RECs, such as CEMAC, COMESA, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, SADC, and UEMOA.
Moreover, it has established regional training programs in both Francophone and Anglophone Africa such as the Programme de troisième cycle interunivesitaire en Economie (PTCI), the African Institutions of Science and Technology (AIST) and the Economic and Policy Management (EPM)