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.

Headline Findings

View more detailed analysis

  • Third in Southern African Development Community (SADC) (score: 0.555).
  • Best-performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.74).


How Namibia Ranks Within SADC

Country is a high performer – score is higher than average of countries
Country is an average performer – score is within the average of countries
Country is a low performer –score is below the average of countries
Average score across REC member countries

Compare Namibia's Dimension Scores

Trade Integration
Regional Infrastructure
Productive Integration
Free Movement of People
Financial & Macroeconomic Integration

Analysis of Namibia's Performance Across Dimensions

Free movement of persons: African countries are scored based on two indicators: the proportion of subregional protocols on free movement of persons ratified (out of those regional economic communities (RECs) of which the country is a member) and the number of other African countries whose nationals are allowed to enter visa-free or receive a visa on arrival. Namibia scores moderately in this dimension. Namibia allows nationals of 26 other African countries to enter visa-free or receive a visa on arrival. Namibia has ratified articles 14, 17 and 18 of the SADC treaty, which concern the free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers (Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and African Union Commission, 2012; Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and African Union Commission, 2013; Economic Commission for Africa and African Union Commission, 2015).  

Trade integration: The index includes three indicators on trade integration, namely: average applied tariffs on intra-REC imports and intra-REC goods imports and goods exports, both as a share of GDP. Trade in services is not included due to a lack of data on intra-African trade in services. Overall, Namibia performs the strongest out of any country in Africa in the dimension of trade integration.

Examining these indicators in detail, Namibia has low tariffs on imports from SADC, with an average applied tariff of just 0.003 per cent, although Lesotho, Mauritius and Swaziland apply no tariffs on imports from the bloc while Botswana has an average applied tariff of 0.00003 per cent on imports from SADC (United Nations Statistics Division, 2015; International Trade Centre, 2015).

Namibia’s trade with the rest of SADC is high as a share of its GDP. In 2013, the country’s imports from SADC amounted to 41 per cent of its GDP, putting it behind only Lesotho (at 61 per cent) in the REC. Furthermore, its exports (excluding re-exports) to SADC countries amounted to 23 per cent of GDP, behind only Swaziland (although the latest available data for Swaziland were for 2007).

Productive integration: As with trade integration, Namibia falls within the group of top-ranking countries in terms of its integration into regional value chains. Namibia scores well (twelfth out of all countries in Africa) in UNCTAD’s merchandise trade complementarity index, which measures the extent to which a country’s trade is complementary with that of its partners. This suggests that a degree of specialization through trade among Namibia and other countries in the subregion may have taken place.

The index also measures productive integration looking at intra-regional trade in intermediate goods. The proportion of intermediate goods in Namibia’s trade with SADC was lower. Namibia’s share of intermediate goods in total imports from SADC in 2013 was lowest among the members of the bloc, at around 13 per cent; however, its share of intermediate goods in its exports to SADC was  higher at around 24 per cent. Infrastructure: Namibia’s infrastructural integration with the rest of the continent appears to be strong, as it is ranked third out of all SADC member countries on this dimension. Based on the latest available data (2013), Namibia’s Internet bandwidth per capita of around 0.5 megabits per second per person is the twenty-sixth highest on the continent. Internet bandwidth is important for international communication, both within Africa and beyond, including to support trade in services. Around 94 per cent of international flights to and from Namibia in June 2014 were intra-SADC.  

  • Free movement of persons: Sixth in SADC (score: 0.65). Best-performing country in SADC is Swaziland (score: 0.70).  
  • Trade integration:: Third  in SADC (score: 0.62). Best-performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 1). 
  • Productive integration: Thirteenth in SADC (score: 0.19). Best-performing country in SADC is Zimbabwe (score: 0.74).  
  • Infrastructure: Third in SADC (score: 0.67). Best-performing country in SADC is Botswana (score: 0.82).
  • Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: Second in SADC (score: 0.65). Best-performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.915).