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AfDB Outlines Opportunities and Challenges of North Africa’s Regional Integration

AfDB7 August 2012: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has released a report, titled "Unlocking North Africa's Regional Potential Through Regional Integration - Challenges and Opportunities," which highlights opportunities presented by regional integration to promote a new, inclusive and sustainable growth model.

The report discusses opportunities and challenges for regional integration across a number of thematic areas, including energy, climate change and environment, the financial sector, human development, and information and communication technology (ICT). It stresses that, in the wake of the "Arab Spring," there is an impetus to promote regional integration efforts, and to take advantage of the natural resource endowments and current physical infrastructure to spur future growth and development.

On energy, the report underscores that developing an integrated energy market would help meet rapidly growing electricity demand, more fully exploit the diversity of energy resources within the region, capitalize on the emergence of new energy technologies, and help supply the financial and technical requirements of an efficient, integrated North African energy sector.

On climate change, it calls for common efforts to protect water resources, which are becoming increasingly scarce and which are particularly vulnerable to climate change. It stresses that regional integration could also improve existing arrangements to prevent climate change and preserve the environment through strengthening regional cooperation, reducing barriers to market-based development of renewable energy (particularly wind and solar resources), and enhancing regional level capacity and targeted infrastructure investment for clean energy delivery.

The report also notes that regional integration will allow for greater coordination of knowledge sharing, regional information systems and donor funds. [AfDB Press Release] [Publication: Unlocking North Africa's Regional Potential Through Regional Integration]