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Overview of trade and barriers to trade in West Africa: Insights in political economy dynamics, with particular focus on agricultural and food trade

Discussion Paper 195

13-07-2016

Torres, C., Seters, J. van. 2016. Overview of trade and barriers to trade in West Africa: Insights in political economy dynamics, with particular focus on agricultural and food trade. (Discussion Paper 195). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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This paper gives a general overview of trade figures and dynamics in the ECOWAS region with a focus on agricultural and food products. The study points to some of the overarching actors and factors that shape these regional trade flows at a broad level, in order to inform relevant stakeholders and guide more in-depth policy research.


Key messages


  • The trade profile of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is little diversified, as the region primarily exports a limited number of raw materials and imports industrialised products and, increasingly, food items.
  • Intra-regional trade in ECOWAS is low, largely informal, poorly documented, and believed to be dominated by staple food. Yet, it has considerable potential to increase, in line with ECOWAS ambitions.
  • Actors and factors that explain formal and informal trade dynamics, as presented in this paper, will need to be taken into account when designing and implementing policies to effectively promote intraregional trade and value chain development.

Read Discussion Paper 195


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Photo courtesy of Carsten ten Brink via Flickr.

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Economic Transformation and TradeFood SecurityPolitical Economy AnalysisThe Role of the Private Sector in Agriculture and Food SecurityTrade Policy and Economic Partnership AgreementsDiscussion Papers (series)AgricultureTradeAfricaWest Africa