Food market cross-border trade in Africa

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Helpdesk Query:

What is the evidence on the benefits of business being allowed to operate across borders within Africa for farmers; consumers; national economies, and donors?

Summary:

This rapid literature review assesses the evidence on the benefits of business being allowed to operate across borders within Africa for farmers; consumers; national economies, and donors. The evidence for promoting effective trade and access of food across borders within Africa is optimistic. Data for this report was taken from available for supra-national and regional economic communities (RECs). However, current (2017) price bulletins and cross-border trade reports on food staples (traded from country to country, or at selected border points) were available for East and South African regions only.

In the West African region, maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava, yam, cowpea and livestock are considered to be the food staples (Engel & Jouanjean, 2013: 1). Key cross-border food staples traded between East African states are maize and maize flour, beans, wheat and wheat flour, rice, sorghum and sorghum flour, and sesame (East Africa Cross-Border Trade Bulletin, 2017). Crossborder food trade in the South African sub-region focusses on rice, beans and maize (Ibrahim, 2015: 140).

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