Corridors of Power or Plenty? Lessons from Tanzania and Mozambique and Implications for CAADP

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    The “corridors approach” is fast gaining importance as an economic development strategy, particularly in Africa.

    Largely based on historical transport connections across the continent, corridors have moved from transport to so-called development corridors, embodying a range of development objectives aimed at overcoming coordination failures in investment and taking advantage of agglomeration and spillover effects, to boost trade and productivity.

    Key Purpose of ECDPM Study

    Development corridors target an increasingly wide array of policy challenges, with an increasing focus on agriculture. They aim to increase regional trade through better physical and soft infrastructures, improve markets for agricultural inputs and outputs, set out agricultural investment opportunities, engage with international investors, and promote the integration of small-scale producers into international value chains.

    Southern African Development Community (SADC) Policy Frameworks have adopted corridors as a major policy direction and point to the role of corridors in general and to promote agricultural development. Further, the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy identifies them as key to achieve its specific objectives.

    This study looks at the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) and Maputo Development corridors and their roles in addressing constraints to market integration for agricultural producers and potential lessons for the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) to maximise its impact on smallholders, particularly at the regional level.

    The report is based on a review of the relevant literature and stakeholder interviews in Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa. The study identifies key issues from discussants and the literature with a view to further promoting frank policy dialogue.

    Key Findings of ECDPM

    • Corridors can do much for farmers but the existing literature and our interviews tend to show they risk being ‘corridors of power’ rather than ‘corridors of plenty’ so far.

    • A key finding is that cross-border trade is increasingly improving, particularly for larger operators. This relates in part to corridor-related initiatives to improve both “hard” aspects such as infrastructures and “soft” aspects such as border and port management.

    • Current constraints to regional and national value chain integration reportedly relate more to ‘behind the border’ issues. A more in-depth, narrowly focused political economy analysis would help in specifying what each relevant actor could do for the successful integration of corridors approaches and proposed CAADP-related investment.

    • Overall, there is a need for deeper understanding and more dialogue to build trust between different parts of the private sector, policy makers and other key stakeholders at the national, regional and international level.

    Read Discussion Paper 138

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