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

  • First in SADC (score: 0.74). 


How South Africa 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 South Africa's Dimension Scores

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

Analysis of South Africa's Performance Across Dimensions

Free movement of persons: South Africa performs strongly in this dimension. South Africa allows nationals from all other SADC countries to enter visa-free. South Africa has also ratified the relevant SADC instruments concerning free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers.

Trade integration: South Africa performs strongly in this dimension. South Africa has an average applied tariff of around 0.01 percent on imports from SADC (based on data for 2014). This is the second lowest import tariff rate in the bloc. Over the period 2010 to 2013, imports from the rest of SADC accounted for only 1.8 percent of South Africa’s GDP which was the second lowest equivalent statistic for any other SADC member country. South Africa’s exports to SADC as a share of GDP averaged 4.9 percent over the same period-the sixth lowest level among SADC member countries.

Productive integration: South Africa performs strongly in this dimension. South Africa’s integration into regional value chains appears to be mixed. Its trade is moderately complementary with that of its partners. It has a merchandise complementarity index of 0.41 (based on data 2013). It indicates that there is relatively higher linkage between South Africa’s export and SADC import structure. The share of South Africa’s of intermediates in its imports from the regional economic communities was 17.6 per cent (-sixth highest level within SADC), while the share of intermediates in total exports within averaged 21 per cent-the fifth highest level among the SADC member countries.

Infrastructure: South Africa performs strongly in this dimension. The country ranked second among SADC members in its average performance in the AfDB infrastructure development index between 2010 and 2012. Around 91 per cent of international flights to and from South Africa are intra-SADC, which is the fourth-highest such ratio among SADC members. Intra-African mobile phone roaming is relatively expensive in South Africa which made the country the highest (first) roaming rate among SADC members.

Financial integration and macroeconomic policy: South Africa performs strongly in this dimension. South Africa’s inflation rate is below SADC members’ average with 5.75 percent, while the average inflation rate was 6.56 in the bloc (based on 2013 data).

  • Free movement of persons: sixth in SADC (score: 0.65). South Africa ranks moderately to highly within SADC in the overall index, attaining first place out of fifteen countries in the bloc.
  • Trade integration: first in SADC (score: 1). Best performer in SADC is South Africa (score: 1).
  • Productive integration: second in SADC (score: 0.55). Best performer in SADC is Zimbabwe (score: 0.74).
  • Infrastructure: fourth in SADC (score: 0.6). Best performer in SADC is Botswana (score: 0.82).
  • Financial integration and macroeconomic policy convergence: first in SADC (score: 0.91). Best performer in SADC is South Africa (score: 0.91).

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