Regional integration in Africa: new monitoring tool launched


Following the recent release of the African Regional Integration Index (ARII 2019) report (revised on 21 May 2020), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched the Africa Regional Integration Index Platform, a dedicated website for monitoring performances and progress in terms of regional integration in each African country, in the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union and, more generally, in the African Continent.

The website also aims at accelerating the implementation of the African Union' “Boosting Intra-African Trade” (BIAT) action plan, which was endorsed by the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union during its 18th Ordinary Session held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012. Such a Plan identifies seven key areas that are considered strategic for increasing intra-African trade and where specific programmes and activities need to be developed at national, regional and continental level: 1) Trade Policy; 2) Trade Facilitation; 3) Productive Capacity; 4) Trade-Related Infrastructure; 5) Trade Finance; 6) Trade Information and 7) Factor Market Integration (i.e. promotion of both intra and inter regional mobility of factors of production, such as labour and capital).

The objective of the Africa Regional Integration Index Platform is to enable an in-depth understanding of the level of integration in Africa across 5 dimensions: 1) trade, 2) production, 3) macroeconomy, 4) infrastructure and 5) free movement of people.

According to the ARII 2019 report, Africa’s level of regional integration is still weak, particularly in two areas: 1) infrastructure and 2) productive integration, the latter mainly due to the low trade in intermediate products between African countries.

The African Union Commission, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank also developed the Integrate Africa website to assess the regional integration status and efforts of countries that are members of the eight African Union-recognised RECs.

The new Africa Regional Integration Index Platform platform offers a more comprehensive overview of the integration levels on each one of the above 5 dimensions of Regional integration and features customised maps, graphs, tables with the relevant underlying raw data.