Zimbabwe scores high on productive integration in SADC


Director for the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division at ECA, Stephen Karingi

Zimbabwe has recorded the highest integration score on productive integration in SADC, suggesting a level of specialization through trade between Zimbabwe and other countries in the region.

According to the recently released African Regional Integration Index (ARII) report launched in Ethiopia recently, Zimbabwe falls is the group of top-ranking countries in terms of integration into regional value chains and this has been attributed to the country’s geographical proximity to SADC member countries than to COMESA member countries.

With a score of 0,730 against an average of 0,350, Zimbabwe was ranked first on productive integration. Its share of intermediates in exports to SADC and COMESA was also high, at 53 percent.

The ARRII, which cited the East African  Communities as the most integrated, is Africa’s first ever effort to  measure progress on regional integration.

AFBD’s Acting Chief Economist said the importance of the Index was to guide policy makers in as far as regional integration was concerned.

“The index is intended not only to be monitoring and evaluation tool but also dash-board for policy makers on regional integration issues,” he said.

According to the index, Zimbabwe scores moderately, twenty-first out of all countries in Africa, in the merchandise trade complementarity index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which measures the extent to which a country’s trade is complementary with that of its partners.

The index also shows that the proportion of intermediate goods in trade by Zimbabwe with SADC is also high. Its share of intermediates in total imports within the region averaged 61 per cent in 2014, which ranked the country thirteenth among countries that are members of either SADC or COMESA.

The country scored moderately on free movement, coming out fifth in SADC with a score of 0.66 against a score of 0.70 from the best performer, Swaziland.

This was due to Zimbabwe’s policies that allow nationals of 27 other African countries to enter the country visa-free or with a visa on arrival.

The country has ratified articles 14, 17 and 18 of the SADC Treaty, which concern free movement of persons, rights of establishment and free movement of workers and is yet to ratify the COMESA protocol on free movement of persons.

In trade integration, Zimbabwe was rated a moderate performer with a high average applied tariff of 24 per cent on imports from SADC.

In 2013, the country’s imports from SADC member States amounted to 33 per cent of its GDP and the country ranked fifth within the bloc on this measure, behind only Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. Zimbabwe has the ninth highest share of imports from COMESA in GDP (3 per cent) among COMESA members,” read the report.

To the SADC region, Zimbabwe’s exports amounted to 23 per cent of GDP, which placed it third behind Swaziland and Namibia on this measure among SADC members. It also has the eighth highest share of exports to COMESA among COMESA members, at 2 per cent of GDP.

The Director for the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division at ECA, Stephen Karingi, said the Index is both a measurement exercise and a call to action.
“It is for everyone interested in Africa’s prospects including regional and national decision-makers, policy-makers, researchers, business leaders, civil society, development partners, media and the public. It will identify where solutions are needed to truly build an integrated Africa,” he said. FinX

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