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The high-speed rail Gautrain traveling between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The high-speed rail Gautrain traveling between Johannesburg and Pretoria, in Pretoria, South Africa, Aug. 2, 2011 (AP Photo by Themba Hadebe).

Africa Must Put Its Economic Integration Talk Into Action

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021

Africa’s leaders and policymakers have long identified connectivity, tourism and, more broadly, mobility—human, capital and otherwise—as key to the continent’s economic structural transformation. For example, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, through seven key aspirations, has identified several programs and initiatives promoting connectivity and mobility as central to accelerating shared growth and development in Africa, as well as to forging a common identity. 

Among its flagship projects intended to realize this ambition, the bloc has identified the need for an integrated high-speed train network connecting the continent’s capitals and commercial centers; a continent-wide free trade area, known today as the African Continental Free Trade Area; the removal of restrictions on Africans’ ability to travel, work and live within their own continent, including with the creation of a continent-wide passport; a single African air transport market; and the establishment of a pan-African forum for financial institutions. Tourism, labor mobility and technological innovation have similarly been identified as the building blocks of the continent’s poverty reduction, economic transformation and innovation agenda. ...

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