New! Regional Trade in Africa

In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Regional Trade in Africa: Drivers, Trends and Opportunities” , since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

Strengthening Regional Agricultural Integration in West Africa: Key Findings & Policy Implications
Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and and Michigan State University, June 2017

This publication presents key results from the Strengthening Regional Agricultural Integration (SRAI) program. SRAI was a major agricultural policy analysis and outreach initiative in West Africa between 2009 and 2017, supported by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and implemented by Michigan State University (MSU) and its West African partners. The program began in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 world food crisis. World rice prices had nearly tripled, the prices of other basic staples had spiked sharply, and several Asian grain exporters had imposed export restrictions in an attempt to hold down domestic prices. West African governments implemented policy measures that limited the full transmission of these international price spikes to their markets. Nonetheless, food prices in the region still shot up sharply and food riots broke out in many cities. The experience severely shook the confidence of many West African leaders in the reliability of international and regional markets as sources of food for their growing populations.

Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade
Chatham House, June 2017

Global food security is underpinned by trade in a few crops and fertilizers. Just three crops – maize, wheat and rice – account for around 60 per cent of global food energy intake.1 A fourth crop, soybean, is the world’s largest source of animal protein feed, accounting for 65 per cent of global protein feed supply.2 Each year, the world’s transport system moves enough maize, wheat, rice and soybean to feed approximately 2.8 billion people.3 Meanwhile, the 180 million tonnes of fertilizers applied to farmland annually play a vital role in helping us grow enough wheat, rice and maize to sustain our expanding populations.4 International trade in these commodities is growing, increasing pressure on a small number of ‘chokepoints’ – critical junctures on transport routes through which exceptional volumes of trade pass. Three principal kinds of chokepoint are critical to global food security: maritime straits along shipping lanes; coastal infrastructure in major crop-exporting regions; and inland transport infrastructure in major exporting regions. A serious interruption at one or more of these chokepoints could conceivably lead to supply shortfalls and price spikes, with systemic consequences that could reach beyond food markets. More commonplace disruptions may not in themselves trigger crises, but can add to delays, spoilage and transport costs, constraining market responsiveness and contributing to higher prices and increased volatility.

A Handbook on Regional Integration in Africa Towards Agenda 2063
CommonWealth.org, 16 March 2017

Echoing the calls of Kwame Nkrumah and other pan-Africanists that ‘Africa Must Unite’, continental integration and unity have been on the agenda ever since African countries gained political independence. African regional integration is seen as key to enhancing political cooperation at the pan-African level, and of promoting economic growth, development and poverty reduction to help achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite its central place in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and plans to establish a continental free trade area, there remain many political, economic and institutional challenges to deeper integration and effective implementation of regional trade agreements. A Handbook on Regional Integration in Africa: Towards Agenda 2063 provides a ready and accessible resource for trade policy-makers, parliamentarians, the private sector, academia and civil society, as well as the general public. Advising and informing on current dynamics, opportunities, challenges and policy options for Africa’s regional integration agenda, the publication is a unique resource for supporting capacity-building on African regional trade issues.