Roundtable on gender and regional economic integration

The gender unit of TWN-Africa is hosting a round-table on gender and regional economic integration in Africa on 18-19 November, 2010, in Accra, Ghana.  The meeting brings together scholars, feminist economists and gender experts, as well as policy-makers, to discuss issues of gender equity and Africa’s economic integration. 


Regional economic integration in Africa has been a long-standing goal in discussions about economic development in Africa. The on-going global financial and economic crisis has brought renewed attention to the role that regional integration could have played in Africa’s ability to withstand global shocks. However there are as many different notions of economic integration as there are protagonists.  These vary from at one extreme, the open regionalism promoted within neo-liberal ideology which sees regional integration as a means for the “smoother and gradual integration” of Africa into the global economy; and at the other extreme, the contrasting notion of regional integration as the means through which Africa can disengage from globalisation. In between these, are notions of regional integration which aim to enable Africa engage with the global economy on its own terms.

At the basis of all the different conceptions are contestations about the nature of Africa’s economic challenges and the specific issues that need to be addressed for Africa’s development. They also have implications for the way in which questions of gender equity are addressed.