Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa
74 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2000 Last revised: 7 Feb 2002
Date Written: May 1998
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.
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