The End of Seasonality? New Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa

43 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jonathan Kaminski

Jonathan Kaminski

Consultant

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank

Christopher L. Gilbert

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper revisits the extent of seasonality in African livelihoods, which has disappeared from Africa's development debate. Through econometric analysis of monthly food price series across 100 locations in three countries during 2000-12, it is shown that seasonal movements in maize wholesale prices explain 20 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 40 (Malawi) percent of their monthly volatility. Monthly maize peak prices are on average 30 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 50 (Malawi) percent higher than their monthly troughs and two to three times higher than the seasonal gaps observed for white maize at the South African Futures Exchange. Furthermore, household food consumption is found to inversely track food prices in each country, decreasing when staple prices increase and increasing when they decline. Clearly, (excess) seasonality in African food markets and consumption persists, necessitating policy attention.

Keywords: Food & Beverage Industry, Markets and Market Access, Access to Markets, Emerging Markets, Economic Theory & Research

Suggested Citation

Kaminski, Jonathan and Christiaensen, Luc and Gilbert, Christopher L., The End of Seasonality? New Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa (June 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6907. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2446311

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Christopher L. Gilbert

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6102/6060 (Phone)
+31 20 444 6020 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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