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Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Dani Rodrik


This study focuses on the role of trade and trade policy in achieving sustained long-term growth in Africa. One major conclusion is that trade policy in Sub-Saharan Africa works much the same way that it does elsewhere. High levels of trade restrictions have been an important obstacle to exports in the past, and their reduction can be expected to result in significantly improved trade performance in the region. There is little ground for pessimism in this respect, or for concern that Africa's different conditions poor infrastructure, geography, or dependence on a limited number of primary products make it a special case in which exports are not responsive to prices or to the traditional instruments of commercial policy. At the same time, the effects of trade policy on economic growth seem to be indirect and much more modest. The fundamentals for long-term growth are human resources, physical infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, and the rule of law.

Suggested Citation

  • Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6562
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffrey A. Frankel & David Romer, 1996. "Trade and Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Amor Tahari & M. Nowak & Michael T. Hadjimichael & Robert L. Sharer, 1996. "Adjustment for Growth; The African Experience," IMF Occasional Papers 143, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Eric Verreydt & Michael T. Hadjimichael & Thomas Rumbaugh, 1992. "The Gambia; Economic Adjustment in a Small Open Economy," IMF Occasional Papers 100, International Monetary Fund.
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    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies


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