International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


Value Chains and Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper examines global value chain (GVC) activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, through the lens of newly assembled data on value added trade. It finds that GVC participation is quite weak by world standards. Although there are emerging intra-regional connections, particularly with South Africa as a hub, some countries trade more easily with distant markets like the UK and USA than with their neighbours. The paper then examines data that could help explain these findings, focusing on bilateral trade costs and transport connectivity, as influenced by non-traditional trade policies like regulatory barriers. It concludes that there is considerable scope for Sub-Saharan Africa to promote value chain integration by improving connectivity in all its dimensions.


Keywords: global value chains, Africa, connectivity
JEL: F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade
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