AKADEMIYA2063 and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) convened a virtual session to debate and promote the findings of the 2022 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM), which provides improved trade statistics and indicators for deeper insights into Africa’s agricultural trade. Agricultural trade and global food security have been dramatically affected by a series of unusual events. While the global economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has aggravated challenging problems. In a context where agricultural prices were already high due to climate change and policies such as export restrictions and support for biofuels, the war has amplified the increase in food prices and inflationary pressures during the first half of 2022 and increased volatility throughout the year. The combination of these shocks affects agricultural trade and food security throughout Africa, especially in countries that are highly dependent on food imports. The role of trade in creating resilience in this volatile environment is crucial and has been much discussed.
The 2022 AATM contributes to our understanding of African agricultural trade and its relationship with food and nutrition security in several important ways. First, it provides a thorough analysis of regional and continental trade in agriculture and selected value chains using accurate statistics developed for this report. This year, it adds an analysis of the nutritional content of African trade and looks closely at the trade in processed products. Second, it examines the potentially transformative impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the region’s economies. Third, at the regional level, it analyzes the evolution of intra- as well as extra-regional trade flows and trade policy of one of Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs), namely the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
As in prior editions, this fifth AATM provides improved trade statistics and uses consistent indicators to monitor trends in Africa’s participation in global trade as well as the status of intra-African trade. The report highlights three main findings. First, the insertion of African countries in global and regional value chains is low but has recently improved. Indeed, both forward participation in value chains (that is, provision of inputs to other countries’ processing sectors) and backward participation (incorporation of imported intermediates into African traded products) have increased, although forward links have grown faster than backward links. Second, intra-African trade increased significantly prior to the pandemic in most RECs, especially in processed products. Yet, this trend was halted by the COVID-19 shock, especially in ECCAS and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). Third, in terms of nutritional content, extra-African trade is concentrated in high-value products with low caloric content. In comparison, intra-African flows are more intensive in calories, fat, and protein. The report models the impacts on trade, growth, and welfare of several potential approaches to the AfCFTA implementation. It also analyzes trends and policy issues in value chains for stimulants, cocoa, coffee, and tea.