July 15, 2023 will go down in history as a landmark date for regional integration in Africa. Indeed, it was on that day that the President of ECOWAS signed the Declaration of the Inter RECs Platform, along with his counterparts from other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as SADC, EAC, ECCAS. , UMA and SENSAD.
This signature represents a significant step forward in the cooperation and collaboration between these different regions. The Inter RECs Platform aims to strengthen the links of solidarity and commercial exchanges between the different economic blocks of Africa, with the ultimate goal of promoting the economic and social development of the continent.
The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are regional groupings of African states. The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for the Development of Africa and the 1991 Abuja Treaty proposed the creation of RECs as the basis for wider African integration. Each with their own role and structure, the RECs aim to facilitate regional economic integration between members of the region and through the wider African Economic Community (AEC), established under the Abuja Treaty. They are increasingly involved in coordinating African Union Member States’ interests in wider areas such as peace and security, development and governance. This map shows how many and which RECs each African country belongs to. The African Union recognises eight RECs: the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN–SAD), the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).