Regional economic integration complements sound national policies, boosting the economic, social and political interests of many developing countries. In Africa, regional integration is especially viewed as a response to the difficulties faced by a continent with many small national markets and many landlocked countries as it can facilitate integration into the global trading system.

Our regional integration experience dates back to the mid-1980s when we were involved with the early stages of SADCC (the forerunner of SADC) and the PTA (the forerunner of COMESA). We were subsequently actively involved with the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) being contracted in 1998 to provide support in economic integration to the Secretariat of the then East African Cooperation as it prepared to launch the revived EAC.

We have maintained an active involvement in each of these Regional Economic Communities as well as undertaking assignments in other regional groupings of developing countries. Through a large regional support project, Imani was instrumental in initiating and subsequently supporting the negotiations for the Tripartite FTA between COMESA, SADC and the EAC. Imani thus has extensive scope, depth and experience in developing and implementing regional economic integration projects.

Download our latest Regional Integration Capacity Statement by clicking here.

Regional Integration services offered by Imani:

  • Development of regional integration policies and implementation methods
  • Strategies for supporting the establishment of links between national and regional strategies, as well as links between member states and regional institutions
  • Building the capacity of governmental ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to formulate and implement regional integration strategies
  • Design and implementation of projects that involve non-state actors in the regional integration process
  • Assistance with identifying which key areas to support: i.e. trade in goods and services, financial services, free movement of persons and labour mobility, infrastructures (in particular transport, energy and telecommunications)
  • Organisation and facilitation of training and capacity building activities, both nationally and regionally
  • Conducting feasibility and impact assessments of programmes and policies – providing a rationale for a region to adopt or forgo a specific option, based on the advantages and the implications of the choice
  • Establishing and implementing plans and systems for monitoring and evaluation of regional integration policies, strategies, plans and programmes

Project Highlights:

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – Mid-Term Review of the 10th EDF Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP) 3 (2015 – 2016)
Imani Development was commissioned to undertake a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 10th EDF/RISP 3 in order to provide the COMESA secretariat and the EU Delegation to Zambia an independent assessment of RISP 3 whilst paying particular attention to the results and indicators of the project. The essence of the evaluation was twofold: (i) The identification of the major bottlenecks and challenges in the different RISP 3 results highlighted above; and, (ii) Making recommendations for improvement and adjustment. The evaluation was guided by the key evaluation questions given by client and the 5 standard OECD DAC evaluation criteria, namely relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability with particular emphasis on the first three criteria. Furthermore, the evaluation was followed by a continuous process-based approach and previous RISP support was taken into account when reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the programme.

TradeMark East Africa – Support to South Sudan’s Accession to the EAC (2014 – 2016)
The overall objective of this project is to assist the Republic of South Sudan to conduct a study as a strategy to facilitate the South Sudan’s entry into the EAC on favourable terms. The project’s objectives consists of four main components: review of economic impact of the EAC accession on South Sudan; review of the regulatory impact of the EAC accession on South Sudan; evaluation of the private sector’s level of awareness, expectations and challenges related to EAC accession and provision of advice on Negotiation Strategy for EAC accession of South Sudan.

World Bank – Overcoming Barriers to Supply Chain Integration in SACU: Lessons from the Private Sector (2014 – 2015)
The main purpose of this project was to investigate how the private sector overcomes cross border trade barriers within the SACU region, with a specific focus on value chains. The paper, which takes the form of a discussion document, draws on desktop research as well as telephonic and in-person interviews with companies in the SACU region to identify where the market is, and is not, providing solutions. The resulting paper was used as a background paper to produce “Factory South Africa? SACU in Global Value Chains (2015), World Bank Group

TradeMark East Africa – Support to the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA) Uganda (2011 – 2014)
The purpose of the project was to bolster the capacity of the MEACA in carrying out its role of promoting Uganda’s interests in pursuit of EAC regional integration. Specifically, this project would design and implement a package of support for regional economic integration to MEACA and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Uganda. The project was implemented in 2 phases: (i) The first articulated a technical assistance and training programme to boost MEACA’s capacity and responsiveness, including preparing detailed Terms of Reference (TOR), indicative action plans and a budget for implementation; (ii) The second phase provided technical and management support for the implementation of the programme, and management of financial aid on behalf of the Ministry. Both long- and short-term experts were supplied. The long-term staff were paired with counterpart key MEACA officials and included a full-time trade economist, trade lawyer, communications expert, programme assistant and M&E officer. Short-term technical assistance was employed on a needs basis to provide specialised skills in areas such as economics, law, communications, political science, social inclusion and development.

GIZ – Study on Legal and Institutional Compliance in Regional Economic Communities – SADC, COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS (2013)
The key objective of this assignment was to support REC Secretariats/Commission cooperating with various GIZ programmes to identify its current legal and non-legal options for fostering Member States’ compliance with regional decisions. In addition, the different approaches between the REC were compared to analyse which options can be utilised more or better in the future, and to kick-off further discussion that foster compliance of regional economic commitments and obligations in partner states.

European Commission – Support to Rwanda’s Accession to the EAC (2006 – 2007)
Imani provided support to Rwanda’s accession to the EAC. The study identified the economic impact – covering trade in goods and services, investment and macroeconomic convergence.  The study also provided a legal roadmap to assist the Rwandan Government and the private sector manage entry into the EAC. Between 2004 and 2005 Imani had previously analysed and informed Rwandan stakeholders of the key issues to be considered in choosing between Rwanda’s integration options. The study included an assessment and provision of advice on the appropriate micro and macroeconomic policy and institutional framework for the harmonisation and rationalisation of Rwanda’s membership to COMESA, ECCAS and SADC and potential membership of the EAC. The Study included a quantitative analysis of the impact of Rwanda’s entry into the different RECs. The study recommended that Rwanda should join the EAC, which it subsequently did.