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Open economies work better! did Africa's protectionist policies cause its marginalization in world trade?

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  • Ng, Francis
  • Yeats, Alexander

Abstract

In the mid-1950s sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 3.1 percent of global exports. By 1990 this share had fallen to 1.2 percent. The authors of this report find that Africa's extensive loss of competitiveness played a key role in its decline in world trade. If Africa had merely retained its 1962-64 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) market shares, its exports now would be 75 percent higher. Africa's problem was two-pronged: (1) it experienced declining market shares for its major export products, which, in turn, were of declining relative importance in world trade; and (2) it was unable to diversify its export base. Empirical evidence developed by the authors shows that external protection has not played a major role in this decline; in fact, OECD trade preferences gave Africa an advantage over many exporters. Trade restrictions and domestic policy interventions often create a bias against tradables, especially exports, that prevents the achievement of otherwise attainable growth rates. Import barriers in Africa are far higher than in developing countries with faster export growth, and appear to work against potential export products. If the region is to reverse its unfavorable export trends, it must adopt trade and structural adjustment policies that help make it competitive and help African exporters capitalize on foreign trade opportunities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 25 (1997)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 889-904

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:25:y:1997:i:6:p:889-904

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References

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  1. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Trade, Distortions, and Long-Run Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(2), pages 299-328, June.
  3. Rozanski, Jerzy & Yeats, Alexander, 1994. "On the (in)accuracy of economic observations: An assessment of trends in the reliability of international trade statistics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 103-130, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Mwaba, 2002. "Working Paper 60 - Trade Liberalization and Growth: Policy Options for African Countries in a Global Economy," Working Paper Series 194, African Development Bank.
  2. Edwards, Lawrence & Lawrence, Robert Z., 2011. "AGOA Rules: The Intended and Unintended Consequences of Special Fabric Provisions," Working Paper Series rwp11-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Kempe Ronald Hope, 1998. "Development policy and economic performance in Botswana: lessons for the transition economies in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 539-554.
  4. Aksoy, M. Ataman & Ng, Francis, 2013. "Demand growth versus market share gains : decomposing world manufacturing import growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6375, The World Bank.
  5. Diaz-Bonilla, Eugenio & Reca, Lucio, 2000. "Trade and agroindustrialization in developing countries: trends and policy impacts," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 23(3), September.
  6. Aboagye, Anthony Q. & Gunjal, Kisan, 2000. "An analysis of short-run response of export and domestic agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 23(1), June.
  7. Aboagye, Anthony Q. & Gunjal, Kisan, 2000. "An analysis of short-run response of export and domestic agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 41-53, June.
  8. Fontoura, Maria P. & Crespo, Nuno, 2013. "Trade Performance of the Less Developed African Countries," MPRA Paper 49193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Hoekman, Bernard & Ng, Francis & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Eliminating excessive tariffs on exports of least developed countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2604, The World Bank.
  10. Hoekman, Bernard & Ng, Francis & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Tariff Peaks in the Quad and Least Developed Country Exports," CEPR Discussion Papers 2747, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Behar, Alberto & Edwards, Lawrence, 2011. "How integrated is SADC ? trends in intra-regional and extra-regional trade flows and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5625, The World Bank.
  12. Diaz-Bonilla, Eugenio & Reca, Lucio, 2000. "Trade and agroindustrialization in developing countries: trends and policy impacts," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 219-229, September.
  13. Ng, Francis & Yeats, Alexander, 1999. "Good governance and trade policy : are they the keys to Africa's global integration and growth?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2038, The World Bank.
  14. Benno J. Ndulu, 2007. "Challenges of African Growth : Opportunities, Constraints, and Strategic Directions," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6656, October.
  15. Zhen Kun Wang & Winters, L. Alan, 1997. "Africa's role in multilateral trade negotiations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1846, The World Bank.
  16. Cohen, Daniel & Kristensen, Nicolai & Verner, Dorte, 1999. "Will the Euro create a bonanza for Africa?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2251, The World Bank.

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