Evaluating Africa’s comparative advantage in travel service exports
This paper tests the hypothesis that African countries reveal a comparative advantage in travel service exports empirically. The UNCTAD 2007 Handbook of Statistics (2008) is used to calculate revealed comparative advantage for 186 countries over 10 tradable service sectors using three different measures of the Balassa index. The results indicate that many African countries reveal a strong comparative advantage in travel service exports. Particularly, a band of countries with a vertical axis from South Africa to Ethiopia and a band of countries with a horizontal axis in the Sahel reveal promising results. If African countries are to benefit from the growth in world service exports, researchers and policy makers should note the massive potential for African travel exports, especially in the smaller destinations. Policies – including regional initiatives – to promote sustained growth in travel service exports are therefore of critical importance.
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