Global connectedness index of African countries

International trade flows: an important component of global connectedness
International trade flows: an important component of global connectedness

The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2014 report, prepared by a research team led by Pankaj Ghemawat – a colleague of mine at IESE Business School – has been published. Global connectedness refers to “the depth and breadth (geographic distribution) of a country’s integration with the rest of the world as manifested by its participation in international flows of products and services, capital, information and people.” The table below shows the ranks and scores of sub-Saharan and southern African countries included in the Index. Before looking at the table, here are some reference points:

  • Most connected country: The Netherlands (rank 1, score 89)
  • Least connected country: Syrian Arab Republic (rank 140, score 6)
  • USA: rank 23, score 64
  • Spain: rank 24, score 63
Nigeria 38 56 Cameroon 115 29
Mauritius 46 52 Namibia 116 28
D. R. of Congo 53 51 Mali 117 27
South Africa 54 51 Uganda 121 25
Ghana 55 50 Zimbabwe 122 25
Gabon 77 43 Botswana 126 24
Ivory Coast 78 43 Burkina Faso 128 23
Ethiopia 85 40 Zambia 129 23
Angola 94 38 Niger 132 19
Mozambique 98 37 Rwanda 133 19
Madagascar 103 35 Benin 136 17
Kenya 106 34 Burundi 137 15
The Gambia 110 31 Central African Republic 139 8
Senegal 112 31

* Lower ranks indicate higher global connectedness, ** Scores range from 1 to 100; country links will take you to Jose-Pedro Martinez’ Linkedin page: he has wonderful insights about some African countries!

Not surprisingly, Africa appears as the least connected region. Maybe more surprisingly, Nigeria is among the top 50 countries. In fact, Nigeria is a fashionable high-growth country. An important element contributing to Nigeria’s connectedness is international trade trade. Merchandise exports account for 35% of GDP while imports for 20%. In the case of services trade, these are 1% and 7% respectively. Unfortunately, 95% of Nigeria’s exports are based on oil and its derivatives. If you want to know why I say “unfortunately,” take a look at a previous post on Nigeria’s post-colonial impoverishment and another explaining why there’s oil scarcity in an oil-rich country.

Also of note is that the top 10 countries in terms of gain in connectedness in the period 2011-2013 include :

  • Burundi: the gain comes from an increased global distribution of its merchandise exports, with its top three export destinations accounting for 59% in 2011 and for only 32% in 2013.
  • Mozambique: the gain comes from an increased trade volume relative to its GDP. Its services exports went from 5% of GDP to 10%.
  • Madagascar: its merchandise exports destined for the world’s largest import markets, the United States and China, both increased over that period; and
  • Ivory Coast: its merchandise imports went up from 28% of GDP to 46%.

Any thoughts on these ranks or scores?

2 thoughts on “Global connectedness index of African countries

  1. My thoughts:

    1. African countries without access to the ocean are at a distinct disadvantage.
    2. I didn’t expect DR Congo to be ranked so highly.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Brian. I agree to both points. I looked at the report on Congo more carefully. It seems that an important element of its connectedness is the depth of its merchandise exports. which acount for 71% of its GDP. The main export products are petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, and diamonds.

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