Using regional value chains as an export diversification strategy: The case of WAEMU countries

- 8 July 2021

Trade topics: WAEMU, GVCs, RVCs, Economic Resilience

Recent trends in GDP growth in Africa reveal that despite sustained growth over a long period of time, there has been no significant decline in poverty or increase in employment. In most African countries, the decline in agricultural activity has not been replaced with more focus on the industrial sector. As a result, the continent's participation in global value chains (GVCs) has remained very low and in most cases is limited to the supply of upstream products along the value chain such as agricultural and mining products which serve as raw materials for higher-value, downstream production. This has made African economies more vulnerable to shocks on commodity prices, particularly in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
In light of this background, this project, aims to analyze regional value chains (RVCs) and also study the obstacles that African countries face while trying to integrate into these chains. It will identify the specific products which countries of this sub-region have a comparative advantage in and put in place diversification strategies to create and strengthen RVCs. It will go on to analyze the impact of exogenous shocks created by the Covid-19 pandemic and how this situation affects integration at the regional level while highlighting how post-pandemic GVCs restructuring can lead to a resilient recovery for African economies.