The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The popular impression that Africa has not integrated into world trade, as suggested by the evolution in simple indicators, has been called into question recently by more formal analysis. This paper refines and generalizes this analysis, but lends support to the popular view of disintegration. Africa, especially Francophone Africa, is currently under-exploiting its trading opportunities and has witnessed disintegration over time, a trend that is most pronounced in its trade with the technologically advanced countries.