Strategies that Advance Regional Cooperation and Integration
Political and economic leaders in practically every region and sub-region of the world have assigned and continue to assign high priority to enhancing regional cooperation and integration. The rationale for this priority is simple. With the exception of a few economies—like China, India, Brazil, and Turkey—the absolute size of the vast majority of emerging economies is too small for their businesses to achieve economies of scale necessary to compete in the global markets.
At the same time, they are not yet ready to compete directly with the global actors. Often regional cooperation is considered as a useful first step for their firms to learn how to compete outside their home markets and at the same time achieve greater regional trade and investment flows. In East Asia, regional trade has reached 50 percent or more of its total trade, almost approaching the levels in European Union. But elsewhere—Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and Latin America—regional trade accounts for only between 5 and 25 percent.
Centennial Group has reviewed the reasons for this subpar performance, despite the high political priority, in all regions, either as free standing studies or as part of larger studies aimed to improve economic performance of individual regions (Africa, Asia, Central Asia and Latin America). In all cases, its studies have proposed policies and institutional reforms as well as improvements in infrastructure and logistics necessary to improve the outcomes under an open regionalism approach.
Typical Regional Integration Assignments
Following is a sampling of the regional integration-related assignments in which the Centennial Group team has engaged:
- A review of the past efforts at regional cooperation and integration in Europe, Africa and Latin America and their lessons for Asia, for the largest multilateral assistance agency in Asia.
- An assessment of Asia’s experience in regional cooperation and integration and formulation of a high level strategy for accelerating the pace, as part of the long term strategy formulated for Asia’s largest development bank.
- Review of the past approaches and experience with regional cooperation and integration in Latin America and proposals for the long term corporate strategy of one of the leading development assistance banks.
- A review of the role of global supply chains in Asia and lessons for Latin America.
- A study of the reasons why sub-regional trade and investment flows are low in Central Asia and proposals for enhancing regional cooperation, in a forthcoming book: Central Asia 2050: Unleashing the region’s potential.
- A similar study of the past experience in the African Continent and proposals for the future in the book: Africa 2050: Realizing the potential.
Meet the principal(s) that lead our Regional Cooperation and Integration assignments:
Distinguished Resident Fellow, Emerging Markets Forum