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Asymmetric Regionalism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Where Do We Stand?


  • Cadot, Olivier
  • de Melo, Jaime
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo


The paper reviews the likely economic effects of the Regional Economic Partnership Agreements (REPAs) proposed by the EU to the ACP countries to succeed to the Lomé IV agreements. We argue that, in spite of some likely positive effects because of reciprocity and because of the North-South partnership, the pronounced asymmetries among the Southern partners will lead to strong redistributive and marginalization effects that will require compensations that are likely to be costly to implement. It is also pointed out that efforts at regional cooperation agreements would avoid some of the shortcomings associated with the proposed discriminatory trade preferences that would accompany the proposed REPAs. And if the REPAs are negotiated, they should be accompanied by compensatory transfers from the EU for tax revenues losses attributable to the agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Cadot, Olivier & de Melo, Jaime & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 1999. "Asymmetric Regionalism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Where Do We Stand?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2299, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2299

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cadot, Olivier & de Melo, Jaime & Olarraga, Marcelo, 1999. "Regional Integration and Lobbying for Tariffs against Nonmembers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 635-657, August.
    2. Sapir, Andre, 1998. "The political economy of EC regionalism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 717-732, May.
    3. Olarreaga, Marcelo & Soloaga, Isidro, 1998. "Endogenous Tariff Formation: The Case of Mercosur," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 297-320, May.
    4. Fernandez, Raquel & Portes, Jonathan, 1998. "Returns to Regionalism: An Analysis of Nontraditional Gains from Regional Trade Agreements," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 197-220, May.
    5. Brada, Josef C & Mendez, Jose A, 1988. "An Estimate of the Dynamic Effects of Economic Integration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 163-168, February.
    6. Cadot, Olivier & de Melo, Jaime, 1994. "The Europe Agreements and EC-LDC Relations," CEPR Discussion Papers 1001, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Grilli,Enzo R., 1993. "The European Community and the Developing Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521385114, March.
    8. L. Alan Winters, 1997. "What Can European Experience Teach Developing Countries About Integration?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(7), pages 889-912, November.
    9. Rodrik, Dani, 1998. "Why Is Trade Reform So Difficult in Africa?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(0), pages 43-69, June.
    10. Wang, Zhen Kun & Winters, L Alan, 1998. "Africa's Role in Multilateral Trade Negotiations: Past and Future," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(0), pages 1-33, June.
    11. Michaely, Michael, 1996. "Trade preferential agreements in Latin America : an ex-ante assessment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1583, The World Bank.
    12. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1995. "Trade Policy and Regional Integration: Implications for the Relations between Europe and Africa," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 387-410, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ademola Oyejide, 2002. "Working Paper 62 - Policies for Regional Integration in Africa," Working Paper Series 196, African Development Bank.
    2. S. Standaert & G. Rayp, 2012. "Regional Integration Agreements and Rent-Seeking in Africa," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/773, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Kohnert, Dirk, 2005. "African Monetary Unions - Dominated by the North? On the Relevance of Rational Economic Reasoning Under African Conditions," MPRA Paper 82083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Zafar, Ali, 2005. "Revenue and the fiscal impact of liberalization : the case of Niger," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3500, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    asymmetry; Comparative Advantage; Compensation; Regionalism;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration


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