Where I am the trade intensity index, IT is intra-regional trade, TA is the whole (global) trade of the region and TW is world trade. If the index is lower (above) the unit, intra-regional trade is less (more intense) than extra-regional trade. Regional trade agreements have the following benefits: many governments are increasingly recognizing the need to ensure that trade and investment agreements reflect environmental concerns in order to contribute to the achievement of cross-cutting environmental objectives and to increase their public acceptance. The report focuses on the practices available to ensure that investment provisions reaffirm the national area of environmental policy. Regional trade agreements can be seen as particularly beneficial for landlocked countries in Africa. A customs union with coastal countries, for example, can effectively link landlocked countries to the ocean. Most African countries and their coastal neighbours are members of the RTA, which share long-standing trade routes and port facilities. The share of regional trade in overall trade, particularly on the import side, also tends to be higher in landlocked countries than in other countries. Nevertheless, it is these countries that will benefit most from the reduction of the region`s trade barriers to the rest of the world, as the marginal costs of imports from the region are generally higher. In addition, experience shows that RTAs have not provided the expected benefits for landlocked African countries, as coastal countries have created barriers, administrative (customs procedures) or physical (roadblocks) over the course of most years, resulting in excessive transit costs and even double taxation at entry. Data from the time series show that the impact of the RTA on intra-African trade appears to be small or insignificant. As a share of the continent`s world trade, intra-African trade declined in the 1970s, before recovering in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. It was not until the early 1990s that intra-African trade returned to its level in early 1970 (Chart 2).

However, since the mid-1990s, despite more intense integration efforts, it has stagnated at about 10% of Africa`s total trade. Intra-RTA trade with the major RTA (SADC, COMESA, ECOWAS, WAEMU and CEMAC) has also grown dramatically relative to their trade with the rest of the world and often shows no obvious trend over time, except perhaps WAEMU, whose intra-regional trade has increased in recent years due to improved UC performance (Table 3). For many ATRs, the share of intra-African trade in total foreign trade remains lower than intra-African trade. The IMF plays a central role in helping its African members promote trade by creating a strong macroeconomic environment. Macroeconomic stability is an essential condition for trade growth. Low inflation and financial stability create an environment conducive to trade growth. A prudent fiscal policy not only helps to keep inflation low, but also allows the private sector more resources to increase its production capacity. Appropriate exchange rates contribute to maintaining external balance and competitiveness.