ECOWAS scores moderately well on regional integration, but its low score on the productive dimension suggests that vast improvements could be achieved if investments were geared toward complementary productive capacities.
ECOWAS countries’ best performance lies in the free movement of people dimension, testimony both to a vision and its fulfilment. The vision is ECOWAS’s goal of creating a borderless region; its fulfilment is ECOWAS members’ open visa policies. This said, only three countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo – have adhered to the Free Movement of Persons (Kigali) Protocol.
ECOWAS’s average is pulled down by the near-total lack of productive integration by seven of ECOWAS’s 15 members. The strongest of this group (Mali) scores only at a tenth of its potential, while the weakest (Niger) scores zero. The performance of ECOWAS’s most integrated countries is not enough to compensate: the top performer, Côte d’Ivoire, scores a respectable 0.718, but the second-strongest country, Nigeria, only scores around the mid-point and the third-strongest, Senegal, hits 0.388.
Part of the solution may lie in exporting and importing more intermediate goods. Côte d’Ivoire does well in this area, as does Nigeria. The Gambia and Sierra Leone, who are among the lowest achievers, do poorly.
ARII measures regional integration in ECOWAS along five dimensions. These dimensions use sixteen indicators to determine the extent to which ECOWAS members are integrated within their region.
The more outward a dimension stretches, the more integrated ECOWAS is on that dimension. Scores are calculated on a scale of 0 (not at all integrated) to 1 (entirely integrated).
This chart shows how each country in ECOWAS performs on the five dimensions of regional integration. Click the inner segments of the bars to see each country’s score.