African Integration: European Union as a model for deepening African Union?


This work explores what the African Union (AU) in its African Economic Community objectives can learn from the way to the European Union (EU) Single Market. The AU through its 1991 Abuja Treaty set an objective of having an African Economic Community in Six stages, from Free Trade Area (FTA) in the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to a Continental Single Market and a Monetary and Economic Union. Since the AU’s style of achieving integration is through the building blocks of its various RECs, the situations of these RECs are thus analyzed to examine their various levels of progress and challenges, in order to get the general level of progress of the AEC objectives. Possible lessons for the RECs and the AU as a whole from the Single Market of the more integrated EU are therefore examined.The Thesis first examines the AEC objectives and the economic integration of the EU. These show that the AU is quite ambitious in its objectives which are similar to those of the EU but that the EU is a more integrated union. The comparative trace of the history of the two continents further reveals that Europe is historically more developed and thus very different from Africa. In a detailed analysis of the present stages of economic integration (FTA, CU, and CM) of the four RECs which already began integrating (EAC, COMESA, SADC, and ECOWAS), the Thesis then shows that implementation of regional policies in member states, asymmetries in development of African countries and the presence of stubborn Non Tariff Barriers are barriers to the economic integration of these RECs and subsequently, the AEC objectives. A comparative analysis of these challenges with the EU Single Market therefore shows what the AU can imbibe from the way to the EU Single Market.The work concludes that the AU is still far from achieving its AEC objectives but it should take its time in its objectives, extend its deadlines to give the RECs more time to grow their economies, stabilize, properly and completely achieve economic integration. Moreover, it should limit the number of RECs in order to avoid overlaps and ensure proper integration of all the regions. But, it should not strive to copy the exact style of the EU integration but can imbibe the Principle of Mutual Recognition, Technical Harmonization and Standards and the possibility of a supranational Court of Justice into the RECs.




Table of Contents    

List of Tables     

List of Figures   

List of Charts    

List of Abbreviations 

Chapter One- Introduction

1.1. The African Union      

1.2. The European Union 

1.3. Research Question     

1.4. Methodologies     

1.5. Objective, Scope, and Overview of Chapters  

 1.6. Literature Review       

Chapter Two- History Matters

2.0 Introduction    

2.1 Europe after 1945   

2.2 Africa after Decolonization 

  2.3 Similar Situation?    

 2.4 Stages 1 and 2 of AEC    

 2.5 Conclusion   

Chapter Three- Free Trade Area and Customs Union

3.0 Introduction      

3.1 Conceptual Explanations: Free Trade Area and Customs Union 3.1.1 Free Trade Area

3.1.2 Customs Union

3.2 The Tripartite COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Agreement

3.2.1 Background3.2.2 Analysis3.2.2.1 Trade Liberalization Rule of Origin Non-Tariff Barriers Trade Facilitation on Border and Customs Procedures Infrastructural Development    

3.3 ECOWAS Free Trade Area

3.3.1 Background  

3.3.2 Analysis Trade Liberalization Non-Tariff Barriers     

3.4 EAC Customs Union

3.4.1 Background

3.4.2 Analysis

3.5 COMESA Customs Union

3.5.1 Background

3.5.2 Analysis

3.6 Learning from the European Union

3.6.1 Principle of Mutual Recognition

3.6.2 Technical Harmonization and Standard

3.7 Conclusion     
Chapter Four- Common Market

4.0 Introduction

4.1 The EAC Common Market

4.1.1 Analysis

4.2 A Continental AU Single Market?

4.3 The Evolution of the EU Single Market: Any Lessons for AU?

4.4 The Role of Institutions

4.4.1 The Commission 

4.4.2 The European Parliament (Formally the Assembly) 

4.4.3 The Council of Ministers 

4.4.4 The European Court of Justice 

4.5 Conclusion 
Chapter Five- What Can the AU Learn from the Way to the Single Market of the EU? 

5.0 Introduction  

5.1 Lessons 

5.2 Learning from the EU: Implementation Bodies

 5.2.1 The Case for a Supranational Commission in AU RECs  

5.2.2 The Case for a Supranational Court of Justice in AU RECs 

 5.3 Rich and Poor Divide 

5.4 Examining AEC Objectives and Hope of Accomplishment 

Chapter Six- Conclusion & Recommendation

Appendices- Showing the Status of Implementation of the AEC objectives  Bibliography 

LIST OF TABLES Table 1 African RECs Table 2 Africa Trade  Table 3 Major NTBs Common in the Tripartite Region 
LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Overlapping membership in the TFTA Figure 2 Overlaps between the RECs 
LIST OF CHARTS Chart 1 The Process for getting an ECOWAS Certificate of Origin 

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Oloruntuyi, I. (2018). African Integration: European Union as a model for deepening African Union?. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Oloruntuyi, Ifeoluwa "African Integration: European Union as a model for deepening African Union?" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, Accessed 28 May. 2024.


Oloruntuyi, Ifeoluwa . "African Integration: European Union as a model for deepening African Union?". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 28 May. 2024. < >.


Oloruntuyi, Ifeoluwa . "African Integration: European Union as a model for deepening African Union?" Afribary (2018). Accessed May 28, 2024.