Regional Integration

Regional integration refers to the process by which states within a particular region increase their level of interaction with regard to economic, security, political, and also social and cultural issues. Regional integration arrangements are mainly the outcome of necessity felt by nation-states to integrate their economies in order to achieve rapid economic development, decrease conflict, and build mutual trusts between the integrated units

Closer integration of neighboring economies is seen as a first step in creating a larger regional market for trade and investment. This works as a spur to greater efficiency, productivity gain and competitiveness, not just by lowering border barriers, but by reducing
other costs and risks of trade and investment. Bilateral and sub-regional trading arrangements are advocated as development tools as they encourage a shift towards greater market openness. Such agreements can also reduce the risk of reversion towards protectionism, locking in reforms already made and encouraging further structural adjustment.

Functions of Regional Integration

  1. the strengthening of trade integration in the region
  2. the creation of an appropriate enabling environment for private sector development
  3. the development of infrastructure programmes in support of economic growth and regional integration
  4. the development of strong public sector institutions and good governance;
  5. the reduction of social exclusion and the development of an inclusive civil society
  6. contribution to peace and security in the region
  7. the building of environment programmes at the regional level
  8. the strengthening of the region’s interaction with other regions of the world
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