East Africa is most integrated region in Africa

06 Apr 2016
Financial Nigeria


The report ranks ECOWAS as the second most integrated region in Africa.  

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have launched their inaugural report on the state of regional integration in Africa. The report, "The Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016," seeks to measure how African countries are performing in integrating trade, regional infrastructure, mobility of persons and goods, finance and production.

According to the report, the East African Community (EAC) is the most integrated region of all the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on the continent. The report ranks Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the second most integrated region in Africa.   

The ARII 2016 uses 16 indicators, which are categorized in five broad dimensions that are fundamental to Africa’s integration. They are: regional infrastructure; trade integration; financial and macro-economic integration; free movement of people; and productive integration.

The report was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 2, during the African Development Week, which took place from March 31 to April 5. EAC has higher than average REC scores across each dimension of regional integration, except for financial and macroeconomic integration. ECOWAS has the highest REC scores in the dimension of free movement of people and higher than average score in financial and macroeconomic integration. In the overall ranking for ECOWAS, Nigeria is ranked 9th, behind Cote d'Ivoire (ranked first), Togo, Senegal, Niger, Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali.
According to a statement by the AfDB, the greatest divergence in regional performance is in the area of financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence. Interestingly, countries with the largest economies do not always perform the best, according to the report. A country’s economic weight (as percentage of regional GDP) does not necessarily correspond to its regional integration score. For instance, Nigeria accounts for 75 percent of regional GDP in ECOWAS. However, the country does not feature in the top performing countries on regional integration. Only Kenya features as the top performer on regional integration.

“The Index is intended not only to be a monitoring and evaluation tool, but also a dashboard for policy-makers on regional integration issues,” said Charles Lufumpa, AfDB’s Acting Chief Economist. “By facilitating access to critical information on regional integration, the ARII will improve the quality of policy-making in Africa as it pertains to regional integration.”

Stephen Karingi, the Director for the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division at ECA, said the Index is both a measurement exercise and a call to action. He said, “It will identify where solutions are needed to truly build an integrated Africa.”

The least integrated region, according to the report, is the Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN-SAD).

Other Photos/Videos