This region’s geography is characterized by the Congo Basin, but includes the Gulf of Guinea, starting at the bottom tip of Nigeria and extending to the top of Angola. This region is rich in oil and mineral resources.
The main RECs in this region are ECCAS and CEMAC although countries are members of other RECs, e.g., DR Congo has membership in COMESA and SADC. ECCAS growth between 1999 and 2009 averaged about 6.2%, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB). These resources, particularly oil, have helped to finance non-oil activities.
Unfortunately, this region is behind other African regions in terms of infrastructure development. There are serious problems with electricity and water infrastructure, which impede the development of the private sector.
In ECCAS, nations have not fully developed mutual understanding for integration, making it more difficult to develop. Several countries like Democratic Republic of Congo are considered fragile states.
CEMAC presents a different picture, representing French-speaking Central Africa. CEMAC is already an economic and monetary union. Therefore, in terms of regional integration, CEMAC is ahead of other RECs who have not yet formed monetary unions, so there is great potential for CEMAC to drive development in Central Africa as discussed in the chapter, Economic Landscape in Africa. There are efforts to harmonize the ECCAS and CEMAC trade areas to boost inter-country trade.
Even though Central Africa is the least developed region, when compared to other regions of Africa, its strategic, geographic position lined with mineral, water, and agricultural resources raises the interest in developing this region as a preferred transit zone, according to the AfDB. Some of the regional integration donors for this region are the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Union, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and United Nations.
In terms of road infrastructure, the main Trans-African Highways that pass through Central Africa are Tripoli (Libya) – Windhoek (Namibia) – Cape Town (South Africa), Lagos (Nigeria) – Mombasa (Kenya), and Beira (Mozambique) – Lobito (Angola). The Central African Consensual Transport Master Plan (PDCT-AC), which covers all forms of transport – road, rail, air, sea, and inland waterways, is a master plan being implemented for the region. It aligns with the framework of NEPAD.
In terms of energy, ECCAS is at the center of the West African, West Southern African, East Southern African, Central African, and Central African – North African power lines, which converge at the Inga Dams in the DR Congo. Central Africa has a power pool called the Central Africa Power Pool (CAPP).
Just like other African regions, ICT has had a positive impact on business in the region. However, ICT development in the region is lagging behind. To address the lack of broadband access, the Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project is being sponsored by international organizations like the World Bank.
Central Africa has recently been connected to international bandwidth through the undersea cables of EACS and ACE (late 2012). The region will have access to over 10,000 gigabits of international bandwidth by the end of 2012.
While regional payments systems in Central Africa are not strong, there is strong financial integration between the CEMAC countries as they have one central bank – Bank of Central African States (BEAC). In a recent announcement, BEAC and the Central Bank of West African States (WAEMU), the other economic and monetary union in Africa, will work to integrate their two financial systems. This integration can help increase competition and innovation, develop a wider pool of bankable projects, and diversify risk profiles in the two regions.
Featured image is countries of Central Africa. Neither Angola nor South Sudan are considered a part of Central Africa, however. Angola is considered part of Southern Africa. South Sudan is considered a part of East Africa. Source: Wikimedia Commons
 Another source of information for this section is: African Development Bank. (February 2011). Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2011-2015. http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Policy-Documents/RISP%20CENTRAL%20AFRICA-ECCAS%20English%20FINAL.pdf. (Accessed online on January 8, 2012.)
 Kinfemichael, M. (2008). Transport Infrastructure Database for Central African Sub-Region. http://www.mcli.co.za/mcli-web/events/2008/
23jul2008/PPP%20Workshop.pdf. (Accessed online on January 8, 2012.)
 Infrastructure Consortium for Africa. Central Africa Power Pool Overview. (Presentation) http://media.globalbizconcierge.com/externaldocs/jan2012/ica-central-africa-power-pool-overview.ppt. (Accessed online on January 17, 2012.)
 Website for CAB – http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?
 Source: http://manypossibilities.net/african-undersea-cables/