The Africa regional integration index is designed to measure the extent to which each country in Africa is meeting its commitments under the various pan-African integration frameworks, such as Agenda 2063 and the Abuja Treaty.
The index, which is a joint project of the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa, covers the following dimensions: free movement of persons, trade integration, productive integration, regional interconnections and infrastructure, and macroeconomic policy convergence.
Overall, Cameroon appears to perform strongly in trade integration and financial integration. By contrast, it earns lower scores for productive integration, infrastructural integration and the free movement of persons.
Concerning specific policies which could improve its performance, Cameroon could consider taking the following measures: eliminating visa requirements or granting visas on arrival for nationals of a greater number of African countries; improving internet infrastructure; and taking measures to support the development of regional value chains in the ECCAS zone.
- First in ECCAS (score: 0.66).
How Cameroon Ranks Within ECCAS
Compare Cameroon's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Cameroon's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: African countries are scored against three indicators in this dimension of the index: first, the proportion of protocols on the free movement of persons ratified by the regional economic communities (outside of the regional economic communities of which the country is a member), second, the number of African countries whose nationals are permitted to enter visa-free as tourists and, third, the number of African countries whose nationals may enter with a tourist visa obtained on arrival. Cameroon scores moderately in this dimension. According to sources consulted, Cameroon allows the nationals of only seven African countries to enter visa-free; all other African tourists who are not nationals of these seven countries must obtain a visa before their departure. Cameroon has ratified the appropriate ECCAS instrument on the free movement of persons, the right of establishment and the free movement of workers (ECA, AfDB and AUC,2012; ECA, AfDB and AUC 2013; ECA and AUC, 2015).
Trade integration: The index includes a number of trade integration indicators, including the average tariffs applied to imports at the community level and imports and exports of goods at the community level. Trade in services is not included, owing to the lack of data on intra-African trade in services. Cameroon has performed extremely well in trade integration. A close examination of these indicators based on the latest available data shows that Cameroon has imposed an average tariff of only 0.2 per cent on imports originating from ECCAS, which makes it the third lowest tariff among the member countries of this regional economic community (behind the Central African Republic and Chad) (United Nations Statistics Division, 2015; International Trade Centre (ITC), 2015).
However, imports into Cameroon originating from ECCAS, taken as a proportion of its GDP in 2013, amounted to less than 0.1 per cent, putting the country into penultimate place (with Equatorial Guinea bringing up the rear) in the group of countries for which data were available. Exports from Cameroon to ECCAS expressed as a proportion of GDP in 2013 were also low, accounting for about 2% of the country’s GDP (United Nations Statistics Division, UNSD, 2015; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, 2015; National Statistics Institute).
Productive integration: Cameroon falls into the group of African countries with the lowest rankings in relation to regional value chains. In addition to having a relatively low share of intraregional trade in percentage of GDP, its trade exchanges with the other countries of the region are not focused on intermediate goods. The index measures productive integration partly by looking at intraregional trade in intermediate goods; the proportion of intermediate goods in Cameroonian trade within the region is small.
The share of intermediate goods in its imports coming from ECCAS is the smallest of any member country of ECCAS for which data are available, i.e. scarcely 0.2 per cent in 2012. Although the share of intermediate goods in its total exports to ECCAS is the second largest among the ECCAS member States for which data are available (3 per cent, behind Burundi with 14 per cent) in comparison with the rest of Africa, this share is still low (UNSD, 2015; UNCTAD, 2015; INS).
Infrastructure: The infrastructural integration of Cameroon into the rest of the continent is also weak, with the country ranked among the last four in Africa. According to the most recent available data (2013), the per capita internet bandwidth of Cameroon is about 0.2 megabytes per second which is the twentysecond least powerful bandwidth in the continent. Internet bandwidth is important for international communications, both in Africa and beyond, including in support of trade in services. In June 2014, 56 per cent of international flights in and out of Cameroon were intra-ECCAS, which puts the country in fifth position for this dimension among the member States of this regional economic community.
Financial integration and macroeconomic policy: The index includes only one indicator on financial integration which measures the number of other countries of the same regional economic community with which currency is shared or convertible. As Cameroon is a member of the CFA zone, it obtains a good score for this indicator (first place shared with other members of the CFA zone) because the currencies of most of the other African countries are not officially convertible among them. More information can be obtained on the convergence of the macroeconomic policies of Cameroon from this website.
- Free movement of persons: Fourth in ECCAS (score: 0.45). Sao Tome and Principe is the best performing country in ECCAS (score: 0.7).
- Trade integration: First in ECCAS (score: 0.98).
- Productive integration: Third in ECCAS (score: 0.44). Burundi is the best performing country in ECCAS (score: 0.84).
- Infrastructure: Fourth in ECCAS (score: 0.48). The Congo is the best performing country in ECCAS (score: 0.69). .
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: Third in ECCAS (score: 0.97). Gabon is the best performing country in ECCAS (score: 1).