Impact of COVID-19 on International Trade: Lessons for African LDCs
19 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 26, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the lack of provisions in existing trade agreements to tackle such a crisis. Advanced and emerging countries, fearing issues of food and national security, have responded with knee-jerk policy measures to promote national production, reshoring of manufacturing, and to reduce dependence on trade. This will adversely affect the least-developed countries (LDCs) in Africa due to their high dependence on trade and low levels of diversification. Proposals have been made by various countries to the WTO to ensure the free flow of trade in essential goods and maintain supply chain connectivity. Hence, there is scope for African LDCs to sign future plurilateral agreements with existing, economically- advanced trade partners, to ensure that no new protectionist measures will be erected against the LDCs during crisis periods, while also promoting production at home. Further trade cooperation between LDCs in Africa within the AfCFTA framework can provide an opportunity to promote resilient regional trade relations through construction of disaster-proof supply chains of essential, and non-essential goods and services. Maintaining food security in these African LDCs is of utmost importance and can be an effective bargain in future trade agreements.
Keywords: African LDCs, Essential Goods, Building resilience, COVID-19
JEL Classification: F1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation