BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Economic hurdles for African Union
Farmers on horseback in central Ethiopia
AU: Riding into the dawn of a new African dream?

If Africa ever achieves what the new Union sets out to do, it will take decades.

The key economic aims include a single market, and a single currency with a single central bank.

A street market in Johannesburg
Economic integration could take decades to achieve
The European Union took more than 40 years to do that. Africa cannot realistically expect to do it much faster.

The obstacles will be immense. Uneven standards of political institutions will make it very difficult to build shared organisations.

Diverging levels of economic development - between relatively advanced South Africa and many of the world's poorest countries - will pose problems for economic integration.

But these problems need not be insurmountable given the political will to press ahead.

Single market

Two groups of countries - in West and Central Africa - have long had shared currencies, each with a single central bank.

The lowering of trade barriers that is needed to create a single market is already partly underway in Africa as a result of global negotiations in the World Trade Organisation.

Mozal aluminium plant in Mozambique
Poor Mozambique is getting investment from rich South Africa

Europe's experience also demonstrates that differences between countries need not prevent integration.

That point is underlined by European Union proposals to expand to include some of the former communist states of central and eastern Europe.

Africa's plan fits alongside other initiatives, notably the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), a programme promoting democratic political institutions and market based economic development.

For Africa, the great question is likely to be whether there is the political commitment and organisation to make the new Union work.

The historic summit should create a new African Union.

Main stories

TALKING POINT
See also:

24 Jun 02 | Business
25 Jun 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes