Index Makeup

The Index is made up of five Dimensions, which are the key socio-economic categories that are fundamental to Africa’s integration. 16 Indicators (based on available data), which cut across the 5 Dimensions, have been used to calculate the Index.

The Index 2016 report covers Member Countries from the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognized by the African Union. The Dimensions and Indicators chosen for the Index are based on the Abuja Treaty and its operational framework.

Regional integration is cross-border and multi-dimensional. Indicators that have a cross-border interaction, and where verified, quality data is available, have been used to make up the Index. Future Editions of the Index will grow in scope as more data becomes available. 

Index makeup diagram

The Five Dimensions & Indicators

Trade Integration

  • Level of customs duties on imports
  • Share of intra-regional goods exports (% GDP)
  • Share of intra-regional goods imports (% GDP)
  • Share of total Intra-regional goods trade (% total intra-REC trade)

Regional Infrastructure & Interconnection

  • Infrastructure Development Index: transport; electricity; ICT; water and sanitation
  • Proportion of intra-regional flights
  • Total regional electricity trade (net) per capita
  • Average cost of roaming

Productive Integration

  • Share of intra-regional intermediate goods exports (% total intra-regional exports goods)
  • Share of intra-regional intermediate goods imports (% total intra-regional imports goods)
  • Merchandise Trade Complementarity Index: total absolute value of the difference between share of imports and share of exports of RMC in a REC

Free Movements of People

  • Proportion of protocols ratified by a country
  • Proportion of countries whose nationals do not require a visa
  • Proportion of countries whose nationals are issued with a visa on arrival

Financial & Economic Integration

  • Regional convertibility of national currencies
  • Inflation rate differential (based on the Harmonized Consumer Price Index)

Rankings & Scores

RECs can be compared on overall integration scores and on scores in each of the five Dimensions. As the Index recognizes and uses the RECs as the building blocks for the African Economic Community, based on the Abuja Treaty, there are no overall country rankings 1

A country’s classification within a REC shows (with a 95% confidence interval) when a country is a: 

  • High performer (green) – score is higher than average of countries
  • Average performer (amber) – score is within the average of countries
  • Low performer (red) – score is below the average of countries

As some countries are members of more than one REC, they have multiple rankings/scores. To see the distance they have to travel overall, as well as in particular Dimensions, countries can be compared against the average scores of the top performing countries in a REC. For a REC with six or more countries, the reference is the average of the top four countries. For a REC with less than six countries, the reference is the average of the top two countries.

1 In subsequent editions of this effort, a full index that ranks the 54 counties will be provided.


  • AfDB African Development Bank
  • AU African Union
  • CEN-SAD Community of Sahel–Saharan States 
  • COMESA Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • COMTRADE Commodity Trade Statistics Database (United Nations)
  • EAC East African Community
  • ECA Economic Commission for Africa
  • ECCAS Economic Community of Central African States 
  • ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States 
  • GDP Gross Domestic ProductHPCI Harmonized Consumer Price Index
  • ICT Information and Communications Technology
  • IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development 
  • IMF International Monetary Fund
  • REC Regional Economic Community
  • RMC Regional Member Country
  • SADC Southern African Development Community
  • UMA Arab Maghreb Union
  • UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Economic Development
  • UN United Nations
  • WTO World Trade Organization
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