Trade and Economic Integration – Institute of Policy Research And Analysis

Trade and Economic Integration

Whether in terms of its traditional exports of raw materials or the diversified exports base required for the success of its emerging development strategy, market access is crucial to African countries. The central purpose of the WTO agreement is to bring about global trade liberalization and expansion of world trade in goods and services through improvement in access to markets by the reduction and elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers. The three pillars of market access negotiations in the WTO are:

  • The Agreement in Agriculture;
  • Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA); and
  • The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATs).

Given the centrality of market access, these form the core of our research programme. The programme also focuses on

Trade preferences especially the S&D discipline in the WTO

Our research focuses on the interplay between non-reciprocal trade preferences particularly, special and differential treatment for developing countries and a variety of contexts including the integration of developing countries in world trade.

The rules making component of the WTO disciplines
  • The agreements on subsidies and Countervailing Measures,
  • Antidumping and Safeguards – including technical and human resource requirements for taking advantage of these disciplines and African countries’ abilities to use them.
Trade facilitation – focusing on the impact of trade facilitation initiatives (and of implementing Trade Facilitation Agreement)
Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights
Trade impacts of African Continental Free Trade Area agreement
Tax harmonization issues, non-tariff barriers, informality and trade
Trade impacts of cross border initiatives
Monetary Union and convergence issue

Trade and Economic Integration programme contributes to

A better understanding of the existing (and anticipated) barriers/constraints to Africa’s participation in world trade, and the impact of trade policies on economic growth and development, its effects on the global balance of power and its interaction with domestic policies;


A more effective participation of African trade negotiators in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations by providing access to high quality analysis and advice and affording less developed Members the opportunities to defend their interests in international trade talks and disputes. We envisage trade agreements that reflect the interests of poor countries, and measures by developing countries that facilitate their greater integration into the multilateral trading systems.

A better understanding of trade and development impacts of policies and programme aimed to improving position of African countries in the international trading system, be it technical assistance to help them build capacity and engage effectively in the WTO negotiations, or assistance in terms of aid for trade or trade facilitation; or non-reciprocal preferences to afford them greater access to developed countries’ markets.