The Burkinabè Cotton Story 1992-2007: Sustainable Success or Sub-Saharan Mirage?
Summary Like many other African countries in the early 1990s, Burkina Faso was urged to engage in a far-reaching liberalization of its state-led cotton sector. Instead it engaged in more gradual and sequenced reforms characterized by institutional innovations and partial privatization. But while the reforms coincided with a threefold increase in cotton exports in the space of a decade, there is heated debate about whether the reforms truly induced sustainable growth. In addition to reviewing existing evidence, this paper develops a counterfactual analysis to more rigorously assess the reform's impacts after accounting for the confounding influence of exogenous shocks and centrally administered farmgate prices. The paper shows that while many elements of the reform process did achieve important economic objectives, return migration from Côte d'Ivoire explains around a third of production growth, financial elements of the reforms were not fully sustainable, and institutional arrangements failed to fully empower cotton farmers.
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