Harmonisation of Sectoral Policies

Harmonized policies generate a leverage effect of common ground where the rules of the game for the stakeholders are evident and predictable. Common policies and expanded cooperation allows for economies to reap the full benefit of regional integration that leads to sustainable economic development. It is, therefore, a core objective of the Abuja Treaty and Agenda 2063 for policies and regulations to be harmonized in all areas of the economic sphere. The second phase of the Abuja Treaty roadmap entails further harmonization of sectoral policies in and among the respective regional economic communities. The following extract from the Abuja Treaty (1991) provides an example of a few areas where such harmonization is expected. Article 6:2 (ii–iii)[1] states:

“Strengthening of sectoral integration at the regional and continental levels in all areas of activity particularly in the fields of trade, agriculture, money and finance, transport and communications, industry and energy; and co-ordination and harmonisation of activities among the existing and future economic communities.”

In this context, the minimum threshold for sectoral policy integration of member States in regional economic communities was supposed to have been met in 2007 to achieve the stated objectives. Yet, factual evaluation of harmonized policies, regulations and procedures are weak, with few assessing mechanisms in place. Accordingly, member States in regional economic communities have an individual and collective responsibility to oversee that harmonization of sectoral policies (both existing and new policies) is implemented. Moreover, as sectoral policies of industrialization, infrastructure, climate, transport and communication, energy, natural resources, gender, agriculture, and others are constantly forming – policies, regulations and procedures require an integration component to optimize benefits from regional integration.


[1] Organization of African Unity, Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (June, 1991). Available from http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/treaties/en/aec/trt_aec.pdf.