Kenya is the most integrated country in Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), followed by Rwanda and Zambia, the latest Africa Regional Integration Index has revealed.
According to the second Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII 2019) released Friday by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development and the African Union Commission (AUC), Kenya scored 0.59 out of possible 1.
Rwanda and Zambia came second and third respectively; with Eswatini, and Sudan scoring being the least integrated into the region.
According to the report, COMESA’s best performance was in trade, but it has much potential for improvement in all the other dimensions, especially the productive dimension.
The 19-member state trading bloc however performed dismally in trade integration when compared to others in the continent, scoring an average of 0.36, slightly above 0.34 scored Southern African Development Community (SADC).
‘‘With the exception of Zambia, no COMESA member achieves more than 0.669 on trade, productive, macroeconomic or infrastructural integration,’’ the report said.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a moderate average score of 0.425, East African Community (EAC) 0.537, Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) 4.88, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) 4.42 while Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) scored 0.37.
The report observed that although 20 countries score above average, no African country can be considered well integrated into its region.
Even the most integrated country, South Africa, scores 0.625 less than two-thirds of its potential on the scale. The report found that much more needs to be done to integrate regional economies to make them more resilient to shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the Index shows that levels of integration on the continent are relatively low with an average score of 0.327 out of 1.
“Whereas the Index edition we are released data cut off points in 2019, the present COVID-19 pandemic has reopened the question of whether enough is being done in advancing regional integration as a means to help Africa withstand systematic shocks,’’ Stephen Karingi, Regional Integration Division director at the ECA said.
Source: The Star
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