Tunisia in top 5 most integrated countries in terms of infrastructure and production (AfDB)
23/05/2020 13:17, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)-Tunisia has been ranked among the top 5 best performing countries in Africa (out of 54 countries) in terms of productive integration and infrastructure, on the other hand, it is at the bottom of the scale in terms of trade integration, according to the 2019 Africa Regional Integration Index, published on May 22, by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

According to the report, jointly prepared with the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Tunisia is the 5th best performing African country in terms of infrastructure integration, as it is considered a country with good flight connections.

With a score of 0.498, Tunisia is preceded by Morocco ranked 4th, the Seychelles (3rd), Egypt (2nd) and South Africa on top of the ranking.

Far ahead of the other most integrated countries, South Africa has the best flight connections on the continent, as its nationals and those from the rest of Africa can travel from one African country to another quite efficiently.

/// Tunisia, the 4th most successful country in terms of productive integration ///

In terms of productive integration, the report ranks Tunisia as the fourth best performing African country in terms of productive integration, with a score of 0.340. According to the index, a country is considered to be performing well in terms of productive integration when its productive capacities complement those of other countries in the region; in other words, if it specializes in the stages of production where it has a comparative advantage and can benefit from scale economies.

Thus, the intermediate products traded in Tunisia "are largely complementary to the production profiles of their neighbours," the report says.

In terms of productive integration, South Africa also remains the continent's leader with the highest score of 1, followed by Nigeria and Angola.

/// Trade integration: Tunisia lagging behind ///

Despite its performance in terms of productive integration and infrastructure, Tunisia is still lagging behind in terms of trade, as it was ranked third worst performing African country in this area, alongside Somalia and Sudan. With a score equal to 0.189, Tunisia is ranked, like Somalia, as a country with the highest export tariffs in the region. In this ranking, Tunisia is followed by the Comoros and Algeria, whose poor performance could be attributable, according to the report, to the low volume of its intraregional imports and exports.

As for the index on the free movement of persons, which assesses, among other things, the countries' visa opening regimes, the report ranked Tunisia among the low-performing countries. It ranked 39th out of 54 countries.

/// African integration: Tunisia remains very far from Morocco ///

From a general point of view, Tunisia is ranked 24th among the most integrated African countries in Africa, with an average performance of 0.338. It remains very far from Morocco, which is ranked 4th most integrated African country. On the Maghreb scale, Tunisia and Morocco are, on the whole, the best performers, while Mauritania and Libya are the weakest links.

AMU is moderately integrated, with an average score of 0.488. It differs from other regional economic communities in that its weakness lies in the free movement of people and it performs relatively well on macroeconomic policies. As for the other three dimensions, AMU's score on trade (0.481) is moderate: as much as its members may trade outside of Africa, their exports within the region are low.

AMU's score for productive integration averages about the same (0.449) but members' scores vary greatly, from near zero for Mauritania to 0.796 for Tunisia. Tunisia is also AMU's leader on infrastructural integration (0.906), with good flight connections within the region and a good score in the AfDB's infrastructure index.

AMU's next three performers on this dimension – Algeria, Morocco, and Libya – are grouped around 0.550. Mauritania scores zero. Tunisia and Morocco are AMU's strongest performers overall. Mauritania and Libya are its weakest.

The 2019 Africa Regional Integration Index indicates that overall, the level of integration on the continent is low, with an average score of 0.327. Africa is poorly integrated on the productive and infrastructural dimensions, which are key aspects forming the foundations upon which the other dimensions of regional integration depend to function.

The index shows that 20 African countries are performing well while 25 are low performing.

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