By Sandra KAYITESI
Continental integration as a means for accelerating and consolidating economic and social development has been a long-standing aspiration, anchored in #PanAfricanism. "Africa Must Unite"- Kwame Nkrumah.
About the African Integration Day.
In 2019, the #AfricanUnion Heads of State and Government designated 7th of July of each year as the “African Integration Day" to celebrate major achievements attained in regional and continental integration process, and also, to deliberate on critical lessons learned, with a view of addressing challenges faced.
Africa's integration Agenda is enshrined in the Abuja Treaty (1991), and has an overarching goal of achieving an African Economic Community at continental level, in six successive stages, which include the strengthening of sectoral cooperation and the creation of regional free trade areas, establishment of a continental Customs Union, a Common Market and a monetary and economic union. It is understood that consolidation of the Common Market will hinge free movement of people, right of residence and right of establishment.
A historic milestone for regional integration in #Africa was recorded on 1 January 2021 with the start of trading under the #AfricanContinentalFreeTradeArea (AfCFTA). The remarkable speed of negotiations, signature, ratifications and entry into force of the #AfCFTA Agreement took place between June 2015 and May 2019 and is unprecedented in the treaty making history of the African Union just behind the Constitutive Act of the Union.
Despite the adoption and implementation of the AfCFTA, the results in attaining the objectives of the Abuja Treaty remain rather mixed with the RECs at different stages of implementation of the Treaty. In addition, more effort is needed to make the ordinary African Citizens understand and own the regional integration process.