Throughout the Third World, regional economic integration has been a prominent element of development strategy for more than two decades. In Africa itself, a particularly fertile ground for cooperation and integration is provided by the existence of large numbers of new states whose smallness and poverty represent severe constraints on their autonomous development. Of the forty-five states in subSaharan Africa, twenty-four have fewer than 5 million inhabitants. Only one - Nigeria - has a gross domestic product (GDP) greater than that of Hong Kong. Of the thirty-three countries listed in the World Bank’s World Development Report for 1982 as ‘low income’, eighteen are African.