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.
Zimbabwe scores moderately for free movement of persons and trade integration. She fares well in production integration, suggesting a level of specialization through trade between Zimbabwe and other countries in the region. She also ranked 13th among all African countries with respect to infrastructure integration.
- Sixth in SADC (score: 0.555). Seventh in COMESA (score: 0.45).
- Best performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.74).
How Zimbabwe Ranks Within COMESA
Compare Zimbabwe's Dimension Scores
How Zimbabwe Ranks Within SADC
Compare Zimbabwe's Dimension Scores
Analysis of Zimbabwe's Performance Across Dimensions
Free movement of persons: The country scores moderately, as it allows nationals of 27 other African countries to enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Zimbabwe 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. The country has yet to ratify the COMESA protocol on free movement of persons (ECA, African Development Bank and African Union Commission, 2012; ECA, African Union Commission and African Development Bank, 2013; ECA and African Union Commission, 2015).
Trade integration: Zimbabwe performs moderately. It has a high average applied tariff of 24 per cent on imports from SADC; however, it has an average applied tariff of just 0.1 per cent on imports from COMESA.  The country’s trade with the rest of COMESA and SADC is relatively high as a share of its GDP. In 2013, the country’s imports from SADC member States amounted to 33 per cent of its GDP and the country ranked fifth within the bloc on this measure, behind only Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. Zimbabwe has the ninth highest share of imports from COMESA in GDP (3 per cent) among COMESA members. The country’s exports (excluding re-exports) to the SADC region amounted to 23 per cent of GDP, which placed it third behind Swaziland and Namibia on this measure among SADC members. Zimbabwe has the eighth highest share of exports to COMESA among COMESA members, at 2 per cent of GDP.
Productive integration: Zimbabwe falls within the group of top-ranking countries in terms of integration into regional value chains. The country scores moderately (twenty-first out of all countries in Africa) in the merchandise trade complementarity index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 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 Zimbabwe and other countries in the region may have taken place. Considering intra-regional trade in intermediate goods, the index shows that the proportion of intermediate goods in trade by Zimbabwe with SADC is also high. The country’s share of intermediates in total imports within the region averaged 61 per cent in 2014 (that is, the average of the shares for SADC and COMESA), which ranked the country thirteenth among countries that are members of either SADC or COMESA (or of both). Zimbabwe’s share of intermediates in its exports to SADC and COMESA was also high at 53 per cent and ranked the country sixteenth among members of COMESA, SADC or both. The country scores first in SADC in this dimension because the data is taken as the average of the period 2010-2013 (the period when data was available for a broad range of countries).
Infrastructure: Zimbabwe ranked 13th out of all African countries, a strong performance. The country’s internet bandwidth per capita of around 0.7 megabits per second per person is the 23rd-highest on the continent. Internet bandwidth is important for international communication as it supports trade in services. Around 84 per cent of international flights to and from Zimbabwe in June 2014 were intra-SADC, which ranked the country eighth within the bloc, while 46 per cent were intra-COMESA which ranked the country fifteenth among members of that REC.
- Free movement of persons: Fifth in SADC (score: 0.66). Best-performing country in SADC is Swaziland (score: 0.70). Sixth in COMESA (score: 0.40).
- Trade integration: Fifteenth in SADC (score: 0.08). Best-performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 1).
- Productive integration: First in SADC (score: 0.74). Fifteenth in COMESA (score: 0.36).
- Infrastructure: Eighth in SADC (score: 0.46). Best-performing country in SADC is Botswana (score: 0.82). Ninth in COMESA (score: 0.47).
- Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: Fifth in SADC (score: 0.50). Best-performing country in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.915).