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Indicators to Monitor Deeper Regional Trade Integration in Africa

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Stronger regional integration has been a policy priority in Africa for several decades. Closer trade links with neighboring countries promise to stabilize food markets, enhance profitable exchanges in light manufactures, reduce consumer prices, and help develop regional production networks. However, the implementation of existing integration initiatives has often been lackluster, so that the economic development and poverty reduction potential from expanded intraregional trade has remained untapped. Markets remain fragmented by a range of barriers to trade and competition along the value chain of traded goods and services. Countries in Africa have committed to a process of deeper integration, but have made little progress in implementing commitments and removing barriers. This report looks at the monitoring of regional integration in Africa and argues that more effective monitoring processes for existing integration arrangements could help to raise the profile of the prevailing implementation deficits and provide policy makers and civil society with the necessary information to push for corrective action. Currently, most integration monitoring systems are scorecard-based compliance assessments. These processes are useful in determining which member countries have transposed their regional-level reform commitments into national law, but say little about changes in trade practices on the ground. Where outcome indicators are used, these generally are of an aggregate nature, such as measuring changes in the volume of intraregional trade, or focus on tariff liberalization, the original centerpiece of most regional trade agreements.


World Bank. 2015. Indicators to Monitor Deeper Regional Trade Integration in Africa. Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.


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