Entitled ” Support Africa’s economic recovery and transformation “, the Regional integration and cooperation assistance strategy The update will support greater regional connectivity in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. “It will also promote the integration of trade and markets through trade facilitation in regional economic corridors, technical assistance for the deployment of the AfCFTA, support for regional value chains and the integration of financial markets” , we explain in the press release published by the World Bank.
The main strengths are the development of human capital through enhanced surveillance of pandemics and diseases, skills development, empowerment of women, statistics and digital identification for development. “Another pillar focuses on resilience and efforts to help tackle food insecurity and agro-pastoralism, cross-border risks such as climate change and pest invasions, working with partners to address issues linked to displaced populations in border areas and work on cross-border waters, ”said the same source.
” The updated World Bank Group approach to regional integration comes at a crucial time when the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAf) entered its operational phase, with the objective of boosting intra-African trade, supporting trade facilitation and realizing the potential market of 1.2 billion people “, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the African Union Commission . ” The key pillars are well aligned with our priorities for continental integration and are relevant to help ensure the recovery of our economies from the Covid-19 pandemic “.
The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged regional integration efforts, while underscoring the urgency of integration to improve the capacity and commitment of countries and regional institutions to deal with such shocks. ” The strong commitment of African leaders to regional integration is commendable and deserves our support “, said Ousmane Diagana, Vice-President of the World Bank for West and Central Africa . ” In our region, we will work with countries and regional institutions to ensure that efforts at the national level are complemented by regional solutions, and we will increase our cooperation with our partners to respond to important cross-border challenges in the Sahel and Lake Chad. . regions “.
Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa declared: ” So that the AfCFTA to be successful, we must invest in regional policies and regulations, including in the area of digital solutions and energy access, which are essential to overcome barriers to integration and vital for the economic transformation of our country. continent. He also stressed the need for regional cooperation to support development in the Horn of Africa: “ We are intensifying our work with our partners on the Horn of Africa Initiative to help develop regional infrastructure networks, increase trade and investment, and address cross-border threats such as locust upsurges, diseases and other “.
In its new approach, the World Bank Group is expanding its reach – for the first time – to include North African countries in its regional integration agenda to help strengthen dialogue on an integration policy agenda continent and to engage the private sector in North Africa to assess opportunities to increase their investments in other parts of the continent.
Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, said: “The updated World Bank approach to regional integration reflects and builds on the strong historical and socio-economic ties that exist between the Maghreb countries and the rest of Africa. The Sahara Desert is not a dividing line. Through our political dialogue, our technical and financial assistance and the mobilization of cross-border private investments, we will continue to support continental integration, from Tunis to Cape Town, from Marrakech to Mogadishu ”.
It is important to strengthen the private sector to lead the continent’s economic recovery in order to maintain economic activities, keep goods and services moving and protect jobs. Regional integration can open up new markets for businesses in Africa, which is especially valuable in times of economic shock when businesses need to find new opportunities to support and grow their businesses.