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, Swaziland appears to perform strongly in all dimensions included here, except free movement of persons, in which it scores moderately.
In terms of specific policy measures that could boost its performance, Swaziland could consider waiving visa requirements or granting visas on arrival for nationals of a greater number of African countries, ratifying the COMESA protocol on free movement of persons, if it has not already done so, and taking steps to improve connectivity of telephone networks with other African countries.
- Thirteenth in COMESA (score: 0.36). Fifth in SADC (score: 0.52).
- Best performer in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.74).
How Swaziland Ranks Within COMESA
Compare Swaziland's Dimension Scores
How Swaziland Ranks Within SADC
Compare Swaziland's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Swaziland's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: African countries are scored based on three indicators in this dimension of the Africa Regional Integration Index: the proportion of REC-level protocols on free movement of persons ratified (out of those RECs of which the country is a member), the number of other African countries whose nationals are allowed to enter visa-free and the number of other African countries whose nationals are allowed to enter with a visa on arrival. Swaziland relatively well in this dimension. According to sources consulted, it allows nationals of 17 other African countries to enter visa-free. Swaziland has ratified the relevant SADC instruments concerning free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers (i.e. articles 14, 17 and 18 of the SADC Treaty), though according to the latest available information has not ratified the corresponding protocol for COMESA (ECA, AfDB and AUC, 2012; ECA, AUC and AfDB, 2013; ECA and AUC, 2015).
Trade integration: The Index includes a number of indicators of trade integration, including average applied tariffs on intra-REC imports and intra-REC goods imports and goods exports. Trade in services is not included due to a lack of data on intra-African trade in services. Swaziland performs very strongly in the dimension of trade integration.
Examining these indicators in detail, in 2014 Swaziland had an average applied tariff of 1.2 per cent on imports from COMESA and zero on imports from SADC, which is joint-lowest among the members of that REC (with Mauritius and Swaziland) (UNSD, 2015; ITC, 2015). Swaziland’s trade with SADC as a share of its GDP is relatively strong, with its exports (excluding re-exports) to the bloc having averaged around 28 per cent of the country’s GDP between 2010 and 2013; it is the highest-ranking country in SADC on this measure. Exports (excluding re-exports) to COMESA averaged around 4 per cent of the country’s GDP over the same period. Swaziland’s share of intra-SADC imports to GDP averaged around 42 per cent of its GDP between 2010 and 2013 (placing it second-highest in SADC on this measure, behind Lesotho with 81 per cent), but its imports from COMESA were only around 0.5 per cent. This suggests that it is strongly integrated in terms of its integration with SADC, but not so strongly with COMESA (UNSD, 2015; UNCTADStat, 2015; national statistics offices).
Productive integration: Swaziland scores reasonably well relative to other members of SADC and COMESA in terms of its integration into regional value chains. In addition to having a high share of intra-regional trade in GDP, its trade with other countries in the region is relatively oriented towards intermediates.
Swaziland scores reasonably well relative to other members of SADC and COMESA (fifth in COMESA, behind Egypt, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda and third in SADC, behind the United Republic of Tanzania and South Africa) in UNCTAD’s Merchandise Trade Complementarity Index between 2010 and 2013, which measures the extent to which a country’s trade is complementary with that of its partners. This suggests that some specialization through trade between Swaziland and other countries in the region has taken place.
Infrastructure: In terms of its infrastructural integration with the rest of the region, Swaziland has the sixth-lowest cost of intra-African mobile phone roaming among SADC members out of the eleven for which data were available but the highest such cost in COMESA.
Information on Swaziland’s financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence within the RECs of which it is a member can be retrieved from the dedicated website on the Africa Regional Integration Index.
- Free movement of persons: seventh in COMESA (score: 0.395), first in SADC (score: 0.70).
- Trade integration – fifteenth in COMESA (score: 0.47), fifth in SADC (score: 0.55). Best performer in SADC is South Africa with 1.
- Productive integration: eighth in COMESA (score: 0.495), fifth in SADC (score: 0.39). Best performer in SADC is Zimbabwe with 0.74.
- Infrastructural integration: eleventh in COMESA (score: 0.44); fifth in SADC (score: 0.58). Best performer in SADC is Botswana with 0.82.
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: nineteenth in COMESA (score: 0.00), eighth in SADC (score: 0.37). Best performer in SADC is South Africa with 0.915.
ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), AfDB (African Development Bank) and AUC (African Union Commission), 2013. Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VI: Harmonizing Policies to Transform the Trading Environment, pp.3-4, Addis Ababa: ECA.
ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), AfDB (African Development Bank) and AUC (African Union Commission), 2012. Assessing Regional Integration in Africa V: Towards an African Continental Free Trade Area, Addis Ababa, United Nations.
ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and AUC (African Union Commission), 2015. ‘Report on the state-of-play of progress towards regional free trade areas (FTAs) at regional economic community level, both in the Tripartite and other regional economic communities, paper presented to the eighth conference of African Ministers of Trade, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 8-15 May 2015.
2015a. ‘Africa Regional Integration Index: emerging findings’, paper presented to a side event of the eighth AU-ECA Conference of Ministers, Addis Ababa, 16 March 2015.
ITC, 2015. Authors’ calculations based on ITC MAcMap database, accessed at macmap.org.
UNCTADStat, 2015. Authors’ calculations based on statistics from UNCTADStat database at http://unctadstat.unctad.org/.
UNSD (United Nations Statistics Division), 2015. Authors’ calculations based on statistics from UN Comtrade database at comtrade.un.org and national accounts data available at data.un.org.