OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Obstacles to Expanding Intra-African Trade

This paper analyses the determinants of intra-African trade (IAT) to assess the potential obstacles to greater sub-regional trade. Both economic and political arguments suggest that increased IAT can foster a regional take-off. Trade linkages in Africa, however, are very weak. Official statistics show that IAT is a small fraction of each country’s total trade and has remained roughly constant over the years. The main obstacles suggested in the literature include trade policy, insufficient infrastructure, non-convertibility of currencies, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity and very high political instability. In order to rank such potential obstacles, the study develops an extended gravity model, using a new panel dataset for 41 African countries during the 1980-97 period. Bilateral trade flows between African countries and their major trading partners have been used to identify specific obstacles to IAT. Besides traditional gravity variables (income, income per capita ...


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