¿Puede la integración regional salvar a África?

Durante el último cuarto de siglo, el crecimiento económico mundial ha aumentado vertiginosamente, pero África ha continuado perdiendo terreno. De hecho, la participación de ese continente en las exportaciones mundiales disminuyó del 4,6 por ciento en 1980 al 1,8 por ciento en 2000 y su participación en las importaciones mundiales se redujo del 3,6 por ciento al 1,6 por ciento en el mismo período.

La participación de África en las corrientes mundiales de inversión extranjera directa (IED) se redujo también del 1,8 por ciento en el período 1986-90 al 0,8 por ciento en el período 1999-2000. ¿Pueden las agrupaciones económicas regionales, como, por ejemplo, el Mercado Común del África Oriental y Meridional (COMESA) y la Comunidad para el Desarrollo del África Meridional (SADC), contribuir a aumentar el comercio y fomentar el desarrollo?

Las corrientes comerciales globales en el África meridional disminuyeron de 131.100 millones de dólares en 2002 a 112.300 millones de dólares en 2003, el 65 por ciento de las cuales correspondieron a Sudáfrica, uno de los tres únicos países de la región que registraron superávits por cuenta corriente. Mientras que el comercio exterior de Sudáfrica casi se duplicó entre 1994 y 2002, las exportaciones de Malawia a Tanzanía, por ejemplo, o de Mozambique a Zambia siguieron siendo insignificantes, pese a su proximidad geográfica.

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