Abstract

The poor and generally unsatisfactory performance of the economies of the vast majority of sub-Saharan African countries, particularly since the 1970s, has been widely recognized and documented. Various explanations have been offered for this performance record. Of particular interest, from the perspective of this chapter, is the virtually universal focus on trade policy as a (or perhaps the) major factor. Thus, the World Bank (1981) identified what it calls “misguided trade policies” as the main culprit, while the fairly comprehensive review of empirical studies in Collier and Gunning (1997, p. 6) shows that “impediments to openness have been detrimental to African economic performance.”