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Rethinking protection for agricultural markets in Subsaharan Africa

[working paper]

Brüntrup, Michael

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Corporate Editor Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik gGmbH
Abstract "This paper argues that although there are good reasons why poor countries in Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) should support their agricultural sector, applicability of protective policies in the agricultural sectors of SSA is limited by various legal, economic, social, political and administrative reasons. The remaining scope, however, could be used to develop prospective agricultural sub-sectors for growth, poverty alleviation and food security, while protection should be embodied in comprehensive development strategies. These strategies must address the problems of low price transmittance of border measures and high transaction costs (in the largest sense) for agricultural products and particularly the limited supply capacity of small scale producers. Legally, trade policy in the case study country Senegal as well as in many other SSA countries is restricted much more by regional trade agreements than by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is a formal and political reason why the protective part of such integrated strategies must be defended and implemented at the regional level. Other reasons to plan, negotiate and implement further specific elements of these strategies at the regional level are the lock-in effect of commitments in order to protect them against ad hoc decisions of national politics, as well as economies of scale and scope in supportive policies, in supply and in demand. These specific elements, such as research, standard setting, quality control or strategic public-private partnerships, should be complemented with other more general elements of regional integration which are less sector-specific, e. g. infrastructure, transport, information, finance or regional trade facilitation. In this way, regionally oriented agricultural policies can profit from wider regional integration and at the same time support it. A note of warning is finally expressed that regional solutions have high political and administrative costs and should only be stressed where advantages clearly outweigh these." (author's abstract)
Keywords Africa; Africa South of the Sahara; Southern Africa; agriculture; agricultural development; agricultural commodities market; protection; protectionism; development policy; development strategy; foreign trade; trade policy; economic agreement; agricultural policy
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; National Economy; Economic Sectors
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
City Bonn
Page/Pages 19 p.
Series DIE Discussion Paper, 16/2006
ISSN 1860-0441
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne