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Regional Integration and Debt in Africa: A Comparative Report of Africa’s Regional Groupings

7. Conclusion
Though external debt has not formally featured as a regional integration policy issue, the latter has been found to be a means of achieving development, fighting indebtedness and enhancing the standard of life. The potential positive contribution of regional integration towards the amelioration of the debt crisis in Africa is evident. Integration can increase and rationalise production, encourage domestic savings and act as a magnet for investment by both internal and external players. Regional cooperation and integration in Africa could well be the appropriate platform from which to participate more meaningfully in the global economy in the fight against external indebtedness.

The benefits of integrating exceed the benefits of not doing so and the benefit-cost ratio is positive. The emphasis needs to be, not in cutting costs/inputs (reductionist approach), but on generating more wealth/revenue/income (incrementalist approach) that results in reducing the huge external debt in most countries. The bottom line of successful regional integration is in “providing equal opportunities, however unequal the initial endowment” and hence achieving together more than any one party could achieve alone, with the benefits outweighing the costs, even for the less advantaged members.

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