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Regional integration holds great potential for tourism growth

Tourists arrive at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa in 2014. file photo | nmg
Tourists arrive at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa in 2014. file photo | nmg 

Regional integration and co-operation between sovereign states has a long history especially in Africa.

According to the World Bank, the first generation regional integration schemes were partly motivated by the political vision of African unity, but also as a means for providing sufficient scale to import substitution industrialisation policies.

One of the most compelling arguments for regional integration in Africa is usually made on the basis of the fragmentation of sub-Saharan Africa, which has 47 small economies, with an average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $4 billion (Sh400 billion), and a combined GDP equal to that of Belgium or 50 per cent of the GDP of Spain.

The implication is that with the per capita growth rate being between zero and two per cent per annum, there is limited progress in poverty reduction and the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seems to be elusive.