The most integrated countries in Africa tend to perform well on at least three dimensions of regional integration. The least integrated countries tend to have poor performance on all dimensions.
Interpreting the rankings
Some countries in Africa are members of more than one regional economic community. Because of this, a country may have different scores and rankings for the same dimension. For example, Libya scored 0.462 on trade integration within COMESA, where it ranked ninth out of 21 countries, but it only scored 0.390 within AMU, where it ranked fourth out of 5 countries.
Some differences in scores and rankings can be explained by historical links, comparative advantages, and topography. Regional policies also play a role. If, for example, a country imposes visa restrictions on the countries that are members of the first regional economic community to which it belongs and but not on countries that are members of the second regional economic community to which it belongs, its score on the free movement of people dimension may be lower within the first community than within the second.
Click on the countries on this map to see how they score on regional integration within their regional economic community.
NOTE: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. The final boundary between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined.
South Africa demarcates itself as the continent’s most integrated nation, well ahead of Kenya, the second-best performer. South Africa is also the continent’s top performer on the productive and infrastructure dimensions. It fares among the top four on the trade dimension and is average on the macroeconomic dimension. Its strength lies in the productive dimension, where it achieves the maximum score. Its weakness lies in the free movement of people dimension.
Kenya enjoys relatively good performance on the productive, infrastructure, and free movement of people dimensions, where it ranks seventh, eighth, and tenth, respectively.
The least integrated countries in Africa are South Sudan and Eritrea. Eritrea is among the bottom six on the free movement of people, infrastructure, macroeconomic, and trade dimensions. The weaknesses of South Sudan are evident in the macroeconomic and infrastructure dimensions, where it ranks last.