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More News from the African Regional Economic Communities

There are at present 8 RECs in Africa, and all overlap membership, creating both opportunities, services, and policies, and also increasing rivalries. The 11-member Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) plans to join with the 6-member Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). The deal aims to eliminate rivalry that has helped to make central Africa the poorest region among Africa’s economic groups. Central African economy ministers say they want to foster regional integration, accelerate economic transformation and facilitate development by merging the 2 economic blocs. Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad are members of CEMAC, while ECCAS, is made up of all CEMAC member states plus Angola, Burundi, the DRC, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe.

ECCAS was created in 1983 to reduce inequality and poverty in central Africa. Central African leaders created CEMAC in 1999 for the same purpose. The African Union reports that the free movement of people and goods remains a dream in most central African states. The absence of a functioning common market and customs union envisaged by Central African leaders when they created the 2 RECs has further deepened poverty. Together, ECCAS and CEMAC constitute a market of more than 240m inhabitants and are the least integrated region in Africa, according to the African Union. The ministers meeting in Cameroon on Wednesday said the 2 blocs will be merged before the end of 2023.


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