One of the main challenges faced by Africa’s regional communities is the lack of adequate capacity to effectively design and implement regional integration programmes at both the regional and national levels. On the other hand, lack of understanding of the opportunities that regional integration brings has also ensured that people do not fully take advantage of those opportunities.
Regional integration is a complex process; to navigate this important process requires expertise for:
policy formulation and analysis; managing the process; negotiating treaties, protocols and other regulations/policies; understanding the process; participation in the process - to exploit opportunities; and, training/teaching about the process
If Africa must achieve and enjoy the fruits of integration then it will need to build capacities to nurture and deliver these fruits.
The key strategy for a way forward therefore must be in sustainable capacity building; research and training institutions to address regional integration are an absolute necessity.
The situation not-withstanding, this region has not had an institution that offers comprehensive and inter-disciplinary training in regional integration. At the end of 2011, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) set up the Institute for Regional Integration and Development (IRID) to fill this lacuna.