Intra - Sub - Saharan African trade : is it too little?
Trade among sub-Saharan African countries is very limited. This fact, plus other political and economic considerations, has been used to motivate a growing number of regional integration schemes. Although many authors have shown that intra-sub-Saharan African trade is limited, none has yet asked whether the level of intra-sub-Saharan African trade is higher or lower than one would expect, given a plausible model of the determination of trade flows. The authors compare actual trade with what a traditional gravity model would predict. They find that a gravity model predicts the low level of intra-sub-Saharan African trade. For the 19 sub-Saharan African countries in their sample, the actual sub-Saharan African share of imports plus exports was an average (median) of 8.1 percent (4.5 percent) while the gravity model predicts a slightly lower, not higher, mean (median) of 7.5 percent (4.5 percent).
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