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Progress made on the Africa Regional Integration Index presented to African Ministers
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), recently in Addis-Ababa, presented preliminary data on the continent’s Regional Integration Index to the 8th AU-ECA Conference of Ministers. The meeting focused on progress made on Africa’s Regional Integration Index.
The Africa Regional Integration Index is the boldest attempt to date to collect data on the impacts of regional integration in Africa. The initiative is funded by the AfDB’s Africa Trade Fund, ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre, the African Centre for Statistics, and the AUC.
To meet their goal, the three institutions collected data on 28 indicators for almost the entire continent. Data on some 50 indicators for seven pilot countries were collected as well, and national statistical focal points underwent training.
African Union Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes and AfDB Vice-President and Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, attended the presentation and welcomed the progress the institutions have made towards finalizing the index. Among the emerging results, there appeared to be a strong performance by Southern Africa in the area of trade integration. This result could change, however, since the data is not comprehensive, the meeting heard.
Meanwhile, the three institutions continue to work on improving the data through training and statistical capacity-building. To this end, AfDB, AUC and ECA also held a five-day joint training (March 23 to 27 in Addis Ababa), for 18 national statistical focal points from countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The training equipped the focal points with a common understanding on the precise meaning of each indicator and possible data sources. The focal points also provided inputs for refining the metadata and questionnaires to be used in data collection. In all, the joint project team for the index has now trained 25 national statistical focal points on data collection for the index.
The next training workshop is scheduled for April 2015 in Tanzania and will bring together 10 focal points from RECs in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as Corridor agencies.
The three institutions will provide a further update on the progress of the index and additional emerging results at the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government in South Africa in June 2015.