Regional integration is making steady progress in Africa and a key objective is to improve the prospects for industrialisation by expanding the regional market. The paper draws on a combination of trade data analysis and industry case studies to better understand the links and synergies between regional value chains and regional integration. The trade data and case studies of two diverse sectors (garments and food retailing) demonstrate the expansion and diversity of regional trade and regional value chains in Southern Africa. This increasingly diverse composition of regional exports is suggestive of an opportunity to further enhance industrial development through intra-regional trade. From a political economy perspective, the long term sustainability of Southern African regionalism will require that the benefits are widely spread. In turn this requires the recognition of the importance of regional industrial policy, which takes account of the dynamics driving global and regional value chains and facilitates regional linkages.
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