The European Union’s Trade Policies and Africa’s Exports
Olayinka Idowu Kareem
Published: June 2011
An important determinant of the sustainability of growth in Africa is the extent to which the continent can exploit the opportunities available from trade. Trade barriers exist to key African exports, which make it difficult for the continent to take advantage of the growth-enhancing benefits of trade or to follow an export-orientated development plan, leaving Africa dependent on the world price of natural resources and minerals such as oil, copper and diamonds. This study evaluates the impact of trade policies in the European Union (EU) and other large trading blocs on a range of African exports. We found that, contrary to many pronouncements, trade policies in the EU, especially tariff barriers, have not significantly hindered Africa’s exports. Furthermore, it was discovered that the export performance of African exports is hampered more by non-tariff barriers to African exports and by capacity constraints within African countries.