by Marian L. Tupy, Dalibor Rohac
August 04, 2014
Africa saw stunning economic growth and a sharp decline in poverty over the last decade. To protect and enlarge these gains, leaders in Africa and the West must cooperate to remove barriers to trade, especially the West’s implicit and explicit agricultural protectionist policies. Countries that improve their policies and institutions – by increasing their trade openness, limiting state intervention in the economy, building a business-friendly environment, and emphasizing protection of property rights and the rule of law – tend to grow faster than others. Alas, Africa remains the least economically free region in the world. The extent of trade protectionism, for example, is large compared with other regions. African reform should focus on enforcing the rule of law, cutting red tape, investing in infrastructure, and embracing free trade. The West can play a large role in this reform, but it will ultimately fail without the full faith and support of Africa’s leaders.