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Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share in global trade (exports plus imports) has declined from about 4 percent in 1970 to about 2 percent at present (Figure 1). This long-term decline is traceable to such factors as macroeconomic instability, high and cascading tariff structures, and unfavorable cost structures as a result of poor business environments, small domestic markets, and high indirect costs (Gupta and Yang, 2006).

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

What is the impact on trade in sub-Saharan Africa of the recent rapid growth in China and other Asian countries, and the associated commodity price boom? This paper looks at how trading patterns (both destinations and composition) are changing in sub-Saharan Africa. Has the region managed to diversify the products it sells from commodities to manufactured goods? Has it expanded the range of countries to which it exports? And what about the import side? The time is ripe for sub-Saharan African countries to climb up the value chain of their commodity-based exports and/or achieve an export surge based on labor-intensive manufacturing.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

The share of sub-Saharan Africa’s exports to developing countries has more than doubled since 1990. As Asia industrializes, its demand for natural resources increases. Sub-Saharan Africa has responded to this new export opportunity, and Asia now receives about 25 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s exports. China and India together account for about 10 percent of both exports from and imports to sub-Saharan Africa—25 percent more than the share of these two countries in world trade (Broadman, 2007).

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

Many studies have investigated whether regions or countries undertrade or overtrade relative to a benchmark model of trade flows.18 Gravity models are commonly used for setting this benchmark; they derive the level of bilateral trade (exports and imports) from natural determinants: in its simplest specification, trade between any two countries is expected to be directly related to their economic size (GDP) and level of development (GDP per capita) and inversely related to the distance between them. When the observed level of trade exceeds the model’s prediction, the country pair is considered to overtrade; when it falls below the prediction, they are said to undertrade.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

Evidence indicates that sub-Saharan Africa is performing below its export potential. Its export growth derives both from fuels and manufactures, but manufactures are confined to a few resource-based products and are concentrated in southern Africa. Whereas the trade of landlocked countries measures relatively well against the benchmark, that of coastal and resource-intensive countries falls short. Outside of fuels and manufactures, most sub-Saharan African countries remain dependent on primary exports whose value has grown very sluggishly.