Monday, June 03, 2013

Nothing wrong with regional integration - Chilipamushi
By Kabanda Chulu
Wed 29 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

THERE is nothing wrong in embracing regional integration strategies in pursuance of economic development, says economist Davidson Chilipamushi.

Commenting on the statement by SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao that African states should exert their efforts in implementing clear independent strategies of managing domestic affairs away from reliance on regional integration, Chilipamushi, who is a former permanent secretary at ministry of commerce, trade and industry, yesterday said weaker economies should maximise benefits from regional economic cooperations.

"In my opinion, embracing regional integration is a step in the right direction, for example, Europe realised the importance of this strategy and started the process of integration because the benefits are many," Chilipamushi said.

"But in Africa, we are still far from getting benefits associated with regional integration because in each of the regions on the continent there is one or two dominant economies which doesn't work to the advantage of smaller economies."

He advised that smaller economies should be assisted to address structural rigidities that affect the whole process of regional economic integration.

"We need to move towards regional integration and for weaker economies to get maximum benefits from this process they should be helped to address their inadequacies in transport, communication, research development, technological capacity, among other factors," said Chilipamushi.

Dr Salomão last week said African states should exert their efforts in implementing clear independent strategies of managing domestic affairs away from reliance on regional integration or external intervention for development.

He said it was the sum of these efforts of different member states that would consolidate and strengthen integration to make it more beneficial.

Dr Salomão was responding to a question on what benefits member-states were accruing from the annual a thousand-dollar subscription to AU beyond the dream of liberalization of fellow countries, which has now almost been achieved.

He said implementation of long-term national visions and ensuring lasting peace was key for all member states of AU.

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