Trade pessimism and regionalism in African countries

the case of groundnut exporters

Ousmane Badiane, Sambouh Kinteh
research report

Agricultural exports, which have traditionally been the mainstay of African economies, have weakened since the 1970s, giving rise to pessimism among policymakers about the prospects for long-term development of overseas export markets. As a result, policies aimed at encouraging trade between African countries have proliferated. In Trade Pessimism and Regionalism in African Countries: The Case of Groundnut Exporters, Research Report 97, Ousmane Badiane and Sambouh Kinteh look at groundnut trade and its effects on production and marketing in the countries that are members of the African Groundnut Council (AGC): The Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan. They investigate related developments on international vegetable oil markets and the potential of regional markets to contribute to the rehabilitation of the groundnut industry in AGC countries. Until the mid-1970s, the groundnut sector contributed 15-40 percent of gross domestic product in AGC countries. With the exception of Nigeria and Sudan, groundnut exports provided 40-90 percent of export revenues during the 1960s and the early 1970s. The share of the rural labor force employed in the groundnut sector varied from 30 to 80 percent in AGC countries other than Nigeria. Between 1961 and 1965, the AGC countries produced 23 percent of the world's groundnuts and had a 62 percent share of world exports of groundnut oil, with the two main exporters, Nigeria and Senegal, accounting for 26 and 23 percent of world exports, respectively.