September 4th, 2019

The Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor 2019

Published by ReSAKSS, CTA, AGRODEP,

This report (PDF) by Regional Statistic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKKS), CTA, and the African Growth and Development Policy Modeling Consortium (AGRODEP), presents an examination of the recent trends, current status, and future outlook of African agriculture trade in global and regional markets. The report finds that while growth in Africa’s agricultural imports has continued to outpace export growth, the agricultural trade deficit has been on the decline since 2012. Meanwhile, Africa has continued to play a minimal role in global agriculture trade. Further, despite the strengthening of the continent’s comparative advantage in agricultural products in recent years, its advantage has largely been limited to unprocessed and semi-processed products, not in processed products. The report also finds that the main obstacle to improving Africa’s trade integration is non-tariff measures (NTMs), with an important role played by customs formalities. To a lesser extent, barriers are the lack of agricultural product diversification and high trading costs. The current trade conflict between major global trading blocs may create an opportunity for African countries to increase their exports, particularly to the United States and China; but Africa will register a net loss in exports if the global trade wars intensify. Informal cross-border trade is an important part of total trade and plays a critical role in poverty alleviation, food security, and household livelihoods in Africa. New regional integration initiatives, such as the continental free trade area, are interesting for several reasons. First, multilateral trade liberalization is at a standstill, and the gains for Africa from previous multilateral rounds are not obvious. Second, the creation of a large continental market could bring economic benefits. To achieve these objectives, however, the proposed regional integration initiatives must be successful. This would require not only eliminating tariffs on all continental trade, but also and above all tackling NTMs.

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