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, Malawi ranks moderately to poorly within both the SADC and COMESA index, attaining eleventh place.
- Eleventh in SADC (score: 0.36).
- Eleventh in COMESA (score: 0.41).
How Malawi Ranks Within COMESA
Compare Malawi's Dimension Scores
How Malawi Ranks Within SADC
Compare Malawi's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Malawi's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: Malawi performs moderate to poorly in this dimension. Malawi does not allow nationals from all other SADC countries to enter visa-free. Malawi has not yet ratified the relevant SADC and COMESA instruments concerning free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers. Nonetheless, more than 80 percent of other SADC member states may enter Malawi visa-free, and the remaining 7 per cent may enter with a visa on arrival, while 55 percent of COMESA member countries required visa and 40 percent of other member states may enter Malawi visa free.
Trade integration: Malawi performs moderate to poorly in this dimension. Malawi had an average applied tariff of around 1.6 per cent on imports from SADC (based on data for 2014); this was the seventh-lowest in the bloc and 0.015 percent on imports from COMESA (meaning that it placed second-to-last among COMESA member countries). Over the period 2010 to 2013, imports from the rest of SADC accounted for only 18 percent of Malawi’s GDP, which was the seventh-highest rank among SADC member countries. Imports from the rest of COMESA accounted for 5.3 percent, which was the fifth-highest among COMESA member countries. On the other hand, Malawi’s export to SADC as a share of GDP averaged 4.2 percent over the same period (the sixth-lowest level among SADC member countries). Over the same period exports to COMESA averaged around 3.4 percent of GDP, which was the eighth-highest level among the COMESA members.
Productive integration: Malawi performs moderate to poorly in this dimension. Malawi appears to be only weakly integrated into regional value chains. Its trade is weakly complementary with that of its partners. Malawi had a UNCTAD merchandise trade complementarity index of 0.10 vis-à-vis the rest of SADC between 2010 and 2013. This indicates weak correlation between Malawi’s export and SADC import structure. The share of Malawi of intermediates in its imports from SADC was 22.8 per cent over the same period (the fifth-highest in the bloc), while 31.8 per cent of the country’s imports from COMESA were intermediates (the fifth-highest in this bloc as well) for which data was available. Malawi share of intermediates in total exports to SADC averaged 23.8 per cent (the fifth-highest in the bloc), while 31.5 per cent of its exports to COMESA were intermediates (the sixth-highest level among COMESA members for which data was available).
Infrastructure: Malawi performs moderate score in this dimension. The country ranked ninth among SADC members in its average performance in the AfDB infrastructure development index between 2010 and 2012. Around 83 per cent of international flights to and from Malawi are intra-SADC, which was the eighth-highest such ratio among SADC members, while 77 per cent of its international flights were intra-COMESA (the sixth- highest such ratio among COMESA members). Intra-African mobile phone roaming was relatively less expensive in Malawi which was rated as the fourth-lowest roaming rate among SADC members for which data was available.
Financial integration and macroeconomic policy: Malawi performs poorly in this dimension. Malawi’s inflation rate is higher with around 28.3 percent, which was the highest inflation rate in SADC and the second-highest inflation rate in COMESA.
- Free movement of persons: eighth in SADC (score: 0.6). Ninth in COMESA (score: 0.29).
- Trade integration: tenth in SADC (score: 0.49). Best performer in SADC is South Africa (score: 1). Tenth in COMESA (score: 0.57).
- Productive integration: tenth in SADC (score: 0.28). Best performer in SADC is Zimbabwe (score: 0.74). Seventh in COMESA (score: 0.5).
- Infrastructure: seventh in SADC (score: 0.46). Best performer in SADC is Botswana (score: 0.82). Seventh in COMESA (score: 0.47).
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: fifteenth in SADC (score: 0). Best performer in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.91). Sixteenth in COMESA (score: 0.21).