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Trade Liberalization in Sub-Saharan Africa

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For many years, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, like many other unindustrialized nations, followed the internally-oriented import substitution policies developed by theoreticians like Raul Prebisch. These measures were meant to

For many years, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, like many other unindustrialized nations, followed the internally-oriented import substitution policies developed by theoreticians like Raul Prebisch. These measures were meant to force nations to develop their industrial capabilities in isolation from the rest of the world. However, these policies did little to improve the economy of many emerging countries. It was not until Asian countries switched to externally-oriented strategies that progress was made in their developing economies. In the early 1980s, a "Washington Consensus" was practiced that included a trade provision for the opening of emerging markets. Since then, many Sub-Saharan African nations have implemented policies that have opened up their markets to the rest of the world. However, most of these countries have not realized the benefits typically ascribed to open trade, causing some economists to doubt the economic growth benefits of trade liberalization. This thesis examines the connection between trade liberalization in Sub-Saharan Africa to review the consequences of recent trade reforms on the region's development and to identify some of the factors which contributed to individual countries successfully, or unsuccessfully, implementing trade liberalizing policies. It finds that the relationship between economic growth and trade liberalization is not as important as other growth factors and that there are multiple paths toward economic development.

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  • 2014-12