African Development Bank ranks Namibia as 3rd most integrated in SADC
The first edition of the Africa Regional Integration Index released this week ranks Namibia as the third most integrated country in the SADC region.
According to the report, South Africa represents 61% of regional GDP and is first of the top performing countries, scoring well across all five areas, namely trade integration, regional infrastructure, productive integration, the free movement of people and financial and macroeconomic integration.
The other top performers which are not strong wealth creators in the region, include Botswana which contributes 2% of regional GDP; Namibia 1.8% and in fourth position Zambia with 2.5%.
Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist in the Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok said that the report and the data sets used to compile it are dynamic and evolving tools that track how the continent’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and countries within each REC, are doing on regional integration overall and by assigned priority areas.
Hamdok said a country’s economic weight as a percentage of regional GDP does not necessarily correspond to its regional integration score. Economically powerful countries are not necessarily better integrated in their RECs, with the exception of South Africa in SADC and Kenya in EAC.
The index covers member states from the eight RECs recognized by the African Union. It is made up of five areas, which are key socio-economic categories for Africa’s integration
According to the index methodology, top-performing countries on regional integration relative to other African countries, are considered ‘deeply integrated with economies that are strongly integrated with others in the REC. These countries feature in the top four performers in a REC that has more than six member countries or they feature in the top two performers in a REC that has less than six member countries.
The areas and indicators are based on the Abuja Treaty and its working framework.
Acting Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration at the African Development Bank, Stefan Nalletamby, said that integration is at the foundation of Africa’s future. A future which, he said, will be forged by its 1.1 billion citizens and a growing young population base.
“A future of opportunities with a marketplace of 54 countries and growing consumer purchasing power, and a future where Africa is open for business with the rest of the world, competing in higher value goods and services, ” he said adding that ‘Integrate Africa,’ along with ‘Industrialise Africa,’ ‘Light up and power Africa,’ ‘Feed Africa’ and ‘Improve quality of life for the people of Africa’ is one of the bank’s five priority areas to transform the continent over the next ten years.
The bank works toward an Africa that is better connected through its people with stronger intra-African trade flows and greater productivity.