Original Research

Intra-Africa agricultural trade: A South African perspective

Y. Daya, T. Ranoto, M. A. Letsoalo
Acta Commercii | Vol 6, No 1 | a99 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v6i1.99 | © 2006 Y. Daya, T. Ranoto, M. A. Letsoalo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2006 | Published: 06 December 2006

About the author(s)

Y. Daya, Directorate: International Trade, Department of Agriculture, South Africa
T. Ranoto, Directorate: International Trade, Department of Agriculture, South Africa
M. A. Letsoalo, Directorate: International Trade, Department of Agriculture, South Africa

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Purpose: The aim of this paper is to assess and provide an overview of the magnitude of current agricultural trade patterns between South Africa and the five leading regional economic communities (REC's) in Africa. This paper also seeks to examine some of the constraints limiting greater intra-African agricultural trade. This is done in order to better understand the role South Africa currently plays and could potentially play in promoting intra-Africa trade.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Trade flows between South Africa and the leading REC's are outlined and explained. Trade data and tariff data is sourced from available databases. Non-tariff barriers and other impediments to greater intra-African trade are examined with reference to available literature and discussions the authors have had with trade experts and policy makers.

Findings: South Africa is the most active country in intra-Africa agricultural trade. However, it is a relationship defined predominantly on exports to Africa with a low level of imports. South Africa exports a diverse range of value added products whilst imports remain concentrated in commodities. Significant imbalances in agricultural trade between South Africa and the respective REC's continue to persist. Regional trade arrangements have fostered greater trade but significant obstacles to greater trade remain.

Implications: African countries that do not invest in infrastructure and create a trade-enabling environment and diversify their production, limit their potential to the supply of one or two commodities thereby perpetuating the trend of huge trade imbalances in favour of South Africa.

Originality/Value: This work provides a platform for assessing trade relationships and examining impediments to greater trade. It is also relevant in guiding future research on priority markets in Africa as export destinations and import suppliers in light of increasing regional integration initiatives and governments commitment to African development.


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