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South – South Trade: Geography Matters

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  • Souleymane Coulibaly
  • Lionel Fontagné

Abstract

Intra-subsaharan African trade appears to be very low, an outcome that is often attributed to the size of the exporting and the importing economies. If that were the explanation, there would be no untapped trade potential. We argue instead that the main determinants of this "missing trade" are geographical and infrastructure-related impediments. Being landlocked and poor translates into high trade costs. In this paper, we try to measure the impact of geographical impediments on South-South trade. We focus on the intra and extra-regional trade of the countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union. We use an Armington-based model in order to evaluate the impact of geographical and infrastructure-related impediments on bilateral trade flows within this region. We find two main results: paving all inter-state roads would increase trade by a factor of 3, and crossing a transit country reduces intra-bilateral trade flows by 6%, ceteris paribus.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2004-08.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2004-08

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Keywords: International trade; Models; Transportation; Regional integration;

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References

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  1. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen Redding & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp0495, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Maylis Coupet, 2005. "On the Adequacy of Monetary Arrangements in Sub-Saharan Africa," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 349-373, 03.
  4. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2000. "Non-Europe: The magnitude and causes of market fragmentation in the EU," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 284-314, June.
  5. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Henderson, J. Vernon & Shalizi, Zmarak & Venables, Anthony J., 2000. "Geography and development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2456, The World Bank.
  7. Greenaway, David & Milner, Chris R, 1990. "South-South Trade: Theory, Evidence, Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 47-68, January.
  8. Havrylyshyn, Oli, 1985. "The direction of developing country trade : Empirical evidence of differences between South-South and South-North trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 255-281, December.
  9. Lionel Fontagné & Michaël Freudenberg & Nicolas Peridy, 1997. "Trade Patterns Inside the Single Market," Working Papers 1997-07, CEPII research center.
  10. Limao, Nuno & Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Infrastructure, geographical disadvantage, and transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2257, The World Bank.
  11. Foroutan, Faezeh & Pritchett, Lant, 1993. "Intra-sub-Saharan African Trade: Is It Too Little?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 2(1), pages 74-105, May.
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Cited by:
  1. de Melo, Jaime & Tsikata, Yvonne, 2014. "Regional integration in Africa: Challenges and prospects," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2011. "South-South Trade: An Asian Perspective," Departmental Working Papers 2011-09, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  3. Mustafizur Rahman & Wasel Bin Shadat & Narayan Chandra Das, 2006. "Trade Potential in SAFTA - An Application of Augmented Gravity Model," Trade Working Papers 22296, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Celbis, Mehmet Güney & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2013. "How big is the impact of infrastructure on trade? Evidence from meta-analysis," MERIT Working Papers 032, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. James Feyrer, 2009. "Trade and Income -- Exploiting Time Series in Geography," NBER Working Papers 14910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Diagne, Mandiaye & Abele, Steffen & Diagne, Aliou & Seck, Papa Abdoulaye, 2012. "Agricultural trade for food security in Africa: A Ricardian model approach," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 123842, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  7. Wim Naudé, 2011. "Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the Big Four," Working Papers 2011/34, Maastricht School of Management.
  8. James Feyrer, 2011. "Distance, Trade, and Income -- The 1967 to 1975 Closing of the Suez Canal as a Natural Experiment," 2011 Meeting Papers 1438, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Shepherd, Ben & Wilson, John S., 2006. "Road infrastructure in Europe and Central Asia : does network quality affect trade ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4104, The World Bank.
  10. Souleymane COULIBALY, 2006. "Persistent Uneven Spread of Economic Activities within Developing RIAs," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 06.01, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  11. Villoria, Nelson, 2008. "Estimation of Missing Intra-African Trade," GTAP Research Memoranda 2915, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.

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