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African Economic Community

Part of a series on the
History of the
African Union
  members of AEC pillar blocs
  states signatories to the AEC Treaty, but not participating in any of the pillars

The African Economic Community (AEC) is an organization of free trade areas, customs unions, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency (see African Monetary Union) thus establishing an economic and monetary union.


  • Pillars 1
    • Pillar membership 1.1
    • Other blocs 1.2
  • Goals 2
    • Stages progress 2.1
    • Overall progress 2.2
  • African Free Trade Zone 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Currently there are multiple regional blocs in Africa, also known as Regional Economic Communities (RECs), many of which have overlapping memberships. The RECs consist primarily of trade blocs and, in some cases, some political and military cooperation. Most of these RECs form the "pillars" of AEC, many of which also have an overlap in some of their member states. Due to this high proportion of overlap it is likely that some states with several memberships will eventually drop out of one or more RECs. Several of these pillars also contain subgroups with tighter customs and/or monetary unions of their own:

These pillars and their corresponding subgroups are as follows:

Pillars Subgroups
Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
East African Community (EAC)
Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC) Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)

West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ)

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
Arab Maghreb Union (UMA)

Pillar membership

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the African Union
Founding states (1998):

Joined later:

Founding states (1994):

Joined later:

Former members:
Founding states (1975):

Joined later:

Former members:
UEMOA-94: UEMOA state from 1994

UEMOA-97: UEMOA state from 1997
WAMZ-00: WAMZ state from 2000
WAMZ-10: WAMZ state from 2010

Founding states (2001):

Joined later:

Founding states (1985):

Joined later:

Former members:
CEMAC-99: CEMAC state from 1999
Founding states (1980):

Joined later:

SACU-70: SACU state from 1970

SACU-90: SACU state from 1990

Founding states (1986):

Joined later:

Founding states (1989):
  member states; year of joining
  member states; year of joining; cooperation in the framework of the bloc stalled
  candidate states; year of application

1 The Arab Maghreb Union does not participate in the AEC so far, because of opposition by Morocco

• •
REC pillars of the African Economic Community.
Active REC pillars of the African Economic Community.

Other blocs

Other trade blocs in Africa not part of the African Economic Community.

Other African regional blocs, not participating in the AEC (their members can be part of other regional blocs which do participate), are the following.

Their membership is as follows:

2005 membership:

Joined later:

1976 membership: 1984 membership: 1970 membership: 1973 membership:

Joined later:

1 Only African GAFTA members are listed.
GAFTA and MRU are the only blocs not currently stalled.


The AEC founded through the Abuja Treaty, signed in 1991 and entered into force in 1994 is envisioned to be created in six stages:

  1. (to be completed in 1999) Creation of regional blocs in regions where such do not yet exist
  2. (to be completed in 2007) Strengthening of intra-REC integration and inter-REC harmonisation
  3. (to be completed in 2017) Establishing of a free trade area and customs union in each regional bloc
  4. (to be completed in 2019) Establishing of a continent-wide customs union (and thus also a free trade area)
  5. (to be completed in 2023) Establishing of a continent-wide African Common Market (ACM)
  6. (to be completed in 2028) Establishing of a continent-wide economic and monetary union (and thus also a currency union) and Parliament
  • End of all transition periods: 2034 at the latest

Stages progress

as of September 2007

  • Stage 1: Completed, only Arab Maghreb Union members and Sahrawi Republic not participating. Somalia is participating, but no practical implementation yet.
  • Stage 2: Steady progress, nothing factual to check.
  • Stage 3:

1 Members not yet participating: DR Congo (in talks to join), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Seychelles (in talks to join), Swaziland (on derogation until SACU gives permission for Swaziland to join the FTA), Uganda (to join very soon)[1]
2 Members not yet participating: Angola, DR Congo, Seychelles [2]

  • Stage 4: no progress yet
  • Stage 5: no progress yet
  • Stage 6: no progress yet

Overall progress

1 not all members participating yet
2 telecommunications, transport and energy - proposed
3 sensitive goods to be covered from 2012

African Free Trade Zone

The African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ) was announced on Wednesday October 22, 2008 by the heads of Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

In May 2012 the idea was extended to also include ECOWAS, ECCAS and AMU.[6]

See also


  • A single African currency in our time?
  • African leaders agree to form single market
  • African Union Official Website
  • South African webpage on RECs
  • Pan-African Perspective
  1. ^ "SADC, COMESA and the EAC: Conflicting regional and trade agendas". Institute for Global Dialogue. October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "African integration is great but has its hurdles". New Vision. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "SADC, COMESA and the EAC: Conflicting regional and trade agendas". Institute for Global Dialogue. October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  4. ^ WT/COMTD/N/11
  5. ^ WT/COMTD/N/21
  6. ^ Africa free trade zone in operation by 2018
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