Sub-Saharan Africa represents only a small share of global production and trade while hosting half of the extreme poor worldwide. To catch up with the rest of the world, the continent has no alternative: it must undertake reforms to scale up its supply capacity while better linking its production and trade to the global economy. If it does so, it stands to gain from unlimited demand and innovation along the supply chain.
Some progress has been made over the past decade, with the region's exports and imports growing rapidly. Because most African economies rely heavily on trade for a large share of national income, they will also be more vulnerable to the trade disruptions of external shocks, as illustrated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Africa in the New Trade Environment: Market Access in Troubled Times provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art analysis by a team of renowned trade economists who present a strategy to bolster Sub-Saharan Africa's market access in the current global environment. It explores three key areas:
- The impact of trade agreements (unilateral, regional, and multilateral) with traditional partners (the US and the EU) and a suggested way forward
- The role of new market frontiers in Asia from the perspectives of both restructuring African economies and the changes in global value chains and their implications for Africa
- The promise and challenges of Africa's own regional trade and regional value chains through a well-considered and well-implemented regional integration strategy.
The book meticulously explores ways to maximize Africa's access to the two leading world markets—the EU and the US - while also diversifying its access to the emerging Asian market. Finally, it calls for an anchoring of the continent's market access strategy in deeper intraregional trade integration. The world's largest free trade project - the African Continental Free Trade Area—presents a major opportunity for the region's large, resource-rich, middle-income countries to lead African firms into stronger regional and global value chain participation.