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African agrifood exports and the EU market: a decade of change

Alan Matthews and Patrick Wustmann
Department of Economics and Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 354


This paper examines the performance of African agri‐food exports to the EU market over the first decade of the new millennium. The EU is Africa’s single largest export market absorbing just half of all African agri‐food exports. Countries are grouped according to the preferential trade regime they enjoy to enter the EU market: North African countries under EuroMed agreements; least developed
African countries under the Everything but Arms arrangement; other African countries under the Cotonou Agreement; and South Africa under its Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement. Despite these preferences, Africa appears to be losing market share. A shift‐share analysis confirms that, with the exception of the African Mediterranean countries, the competitiveness of African
exporters deteriorated over this decade. Examination of the potential impact of duty‐free access for non‐LDC African exporters under the interim Economic Partnership Agreements after 2008 shows that this is not likely to reverse this trend. Despite evidence that preferences for agri‐food products work, improving Africa’s export performance will require investment by African countries themselves in overcoming the supply‐side obstacles to increasing agri‐food exports.

Keywords: Africa, EU, agricultural exports, market access, preference agreements
JEL Classification F14, Q17

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).