April 2 2016 marked a historic day when Africa’s first effort to measure progress on regional integration was launched in Addis Ababa. The Index was the result of the African Development Week, which is taking place from March 31 to April 5. The ARII is a collaborative effort between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and seeks to collect data on the impacts of regional integration. The ARII looks at 16 indicators across five broad dimensions, which are: trade integration, productive integration, regional infrastructure, free movement of people, and financial integration. The indicators measure important aspects such as share of intra-regional trade as a percentage of total trade, and proportion of intra-regional flights, amongst others. Countries that scored highly in a number of dimensions include Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.
The index ranked the East African Community as the most integrated region. This is especially important as integration is a key component of economic transformation.Charles Lufumpa, AfDB’s Acting Chief Economist, noted the importance of the Index in guiding policy-makers. “The Index is intended not only to be a monitoring and evaluation tool, but also a dashboard for policy-makers on regional integration issues. By facilitating access to critical information on regional integration, the ARII will improve the quality of policy-making in Africa as it pertains to regional integration.