Economic report on Africa 2004 published, highlights trade
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa.;
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Trade liberalization alone will not boost growth and poverty reduction in Africa. That’s the key message of this year’s Economic Report on Africa 2004 entitled “Unlocking Africa’s Trade Potential”. ERA 2004 argues that trade policies in many African countries have been applied haphazardly with too little relevance to overall development objectives. Data from African countries that have liberalized their economies show that dynamic trade policies, alongside gradual and targeted liberalization, are more effective than liberalization per se. The flagship report uses a competitiveness index developed by ECA that combines the economic and political environment, availability of direct inputs to production and state of infrastructure to provide insights into why development in Africa has fallen behind, compared to other regions. The report also warns against protectionist sentiment, particularly in the form of cotton subsidies in the US and other industrial countries. These have damaged prospects for cotton-producing West African countries and further protectionist measures could seriously harm Africa in the medium-term.