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Maximizing the Benefits of Trade for Africa

March 08, 2022
Prince Paa-Kwesi Heto

Policy Brief

African countries are increasingly integrating into global supply chains, yet the linkages between African and foreign firms and the impact of supply chain activities on the development prospects of African states is not well understood.


This policy brief by Prince Paa-Kwesi Heto analyzes global supply chain trade between the U.S. and China, on the one hand, and Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member states on the other. It shows that, contrary to the conventional wisdom that SACU states export raw materials with few value-added products, SACU states are actually positioned further up in the supply chain hierarchy. They import intermediate inputs from China and export a substantial volume of intermediate goods to the U.S. Moreover, global supply chain trade is diversifying the countries’ exports and increasing their industrial capacity, positioning African countries to attract companies moving out of China.

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