Together with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), IDOS organized a research conference on issues of Africa’s regional and global (economic) integration in Bonn on 17 and 18 November. In addition to keynote speeches by Bernard Hoekman (European University Institute) and Stephen Karingi (UNECA), participants from Europe and Africa presented and discussed current research findings on a broad range of topics, from deepening trade relations, both within Africa and with external partners, to the effects and determinants of foreign direct investment, digitalization and migration in Africa.
The conference combined political timeliness and academic relevance, because although Africa remains the region most isolated from the global economy, it has made steady progress in recent years toward closer and more active integration, both within and beyond the continent’s borders. For example, almost all African countries are now members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and stalled regional economic integration projects have recently gained new momentum with the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
At the same time, Africa’s relations with other regions of the world have intensified, including through the quasi-reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union and China’s increased local engagement in trade, investment and economic cooperation. However, these developments not only stand against the sobering reality on the ground in many African countries, but also lack a deep understanding of their (medium- to long-term) impact on trade and welfare.
Selected conference papers will be published in a Special Issue of the renowned Review of World Economics next year.