Due to the dynamic development of the regional economic integration processes the study of this phenomenon has become the most important in recent years, especially in the context of developing countries. However, existing theories are based largely on the experience of regional integration in developed countries and practically does not take into account peculiarities of countries with developing economies. This article is devoted to the peculiarities of regional economic integration in Africa. African regional unions can be divided into the Association of the «old type», built in the era of colonial dependence, and «new type», which were developed after independence. Taking into account the peculiarities of the economic and socio-political development of African countries, the approach to the formation of the union should not be based not on a single model of integration, but should follow principles such as open regionalism, subsidiarity and gradualism. In this article the importance of economic and political components in the processes of African regional integration was studied, the phenomenon of the shadow regionalism was examined. It is revealed that the transition to a single currency under a separate regional communities, and then across the continent will require additional costs to smooth out the appearance of possible shocks to the economies of integrating states, as well as to make possible the subsequent transition towards a fiscal union.