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, Zambia appears to perform strongly in all dimensions of the regional integration index that are featured here. However, its performance in infrastructural integration and financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence could be improved.
- Second in COMESA (score: 0.565). Fourth in SADC (score: 0.523).
How Zambia Ranks Within COMESA
Compare Zambia's Dimension Scores
How Zambia Ranks Within SADC
Compare Zambia's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Zambia's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: African countries are scored based on two 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) and the number of other African countries whose nationals are allowed to enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Zambia scores strongly in this dimension relative to other members of COMESA and SADC. According to sources consulted, it allows nationals of twenty-four other African countries to enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Zambia has ratified articles 14, 17 and 18 of the SADC treaty which concern free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers but has not ratified the COMESA protocol on free movement of persons (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. Overall, Zambia performs strongly in the dimension of trade integration relative to other members of COMESA and SADC.
Examining these indicators in detail, Zambia has an average applied tariff of just 0.1 per cent on imports from SADC, with an average applied tariff of just 0.003 per cent on imports from COMESA. This means that it has the seventh-lowest average applied tariff among SADC member states (behind Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) and the third lowest average applied tariff on imports from COMESA, based on the latest available data (UNSD, 2015; ITC, 2015).
Zambia’s trade with the rest of the RECs of which it is a member is also high as a share of its GDP. In 2013, the country’s imports from SADC amounted to 23 per cent of its GDP, meaning that it ranks sixth within the bloc on this measure, behind Lesotho (at 61 per cent). Zambia has the highest share of imports from COMESA in GDP (12 per cent) of any COMESA member. Furthermore, Zambia’s exports (excluding re-exports) to SADC amounted to 14 per cent of GDP, meaning that it ranked fifth on this measure among SADC members. Zambia has the highest share of exports to COMESA of any COMESA member, at 8 per cent.
Productive integration: As with trade integration, Zambia falls within the group of top-ranking countries in SADC and COMESA in terms of its integration into regional value chains.
Zambia scores moderately (nineteenth 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 some level of specialization through trade between Zambia and other countries in the region may have taken place.
The Index also measures productive integration looking at intra-regional trade in intermediate goods. The proportion of intermediate goods in Zambia’s (already high) trade with SADC is also high. Zambia’s share of intermediates in total imports within the region averaged 53 per cent in 2014 (i.e. the average of the shares for SADC and COMESA), while in the same year, its share of intermediates in its exports to the RECs of which it is a member was also high at 76 per cent.
Infrastructure: Zambia’s infrastructural integration with its rest of the region appears to be moderate relative to other members of the same RECs. Based on the latest available data (2013), Zambia’s internet bandwidth per capita of around 0.7 megabits per second per person is the 22nd-highest on the continent. Internet bandwidth is important for international communication, both within Africa and beyond, including to support trade in services. Around 84 per cent of international flights to and from Zambia in June 2014 were intra-SADC, while 75 per cent were intra-COMESA.
- Free movement of persons: Joint-4th in COMESA (score: 0.442) 3rd in SADC (score: 0.693).
- Trade integration: 1st in COMESA (score: 1), 2nd in SADC (score: 0.628).
- Productive integration: 4th in COMESA (score: 0.610), 3rd in SADC (score: 0.533).
- Infrastructure: 10th in COMESA (score: 0.437), 10th in SADC (score: 0.444).
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence:12th in COMESA (score: 0.337), 11th in SADC (0.320).
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.