The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched one of its flagship reports, the Africa Integration Index (ARII), a bold attempt to provide data on the status and progress of regional integration on the continent.
The report, unveiled last month in Nairobi, is a product of strong collaboration of the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the ECA.
The commitment of African countries to regional integration is evident in regional initiatives such as the work of the Regional Economic Communities, the launch of the Continental Free Trade Area and Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) Action Plan.
The Index seeks to provide a means for tracking progress in terms of the different dimensions of regional integration, including trade, movement of people, productive capacity, monetary and financial integration and infrastructure.
The current report gives an assessment of the current status of integration across the continent and highlights areas of success and gaps. The index aims to be an accessible, comprehensive, practical and results-oriented tool that focuses on both the policy level commitments and on-the-ground realities.
It is intended to be dynamic, interactive and to improve over time as more and reliable data becomes available.
According to Stephen Karingi, the Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division at the ECA, the Index provides a tool for moving the discussion on regional integration from perception to evidence. n