Appendix 1. Data Source and Notes

Sanjeev Gupta, Kevin Carey, and Ulrich Jacoby
Published Date:
October 2007
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The analysis uses UN Comtrade data on sub-Saharan African merchandise (physical goods) exports, as reflected in imports to the reporting country under Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) revision 2. This is a more reliable method of measuring sub-Saharan African exports, given data quality problems when the sub-Saharan African country is the reporting country. The reporting countries/groups are the United States; the pre-2004 European Union, referred to as EU-15; Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Singapore (collectively referred to as Industrial Asia); and China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan Province of China, and Thailand (collectively referred to as Developing Asia). Although these groups do not include all of sub-Saharan Africa’s trade partners, they capture the main reporting partners for sub-Saharan Africa in Comtrade. Two years are chosen for detailed comparison: usually 1985 and 2005, though data gaps sometimes necessitated the use of 1990 or 2004. The data cover merchandise (including manufacturing) exports from sub-Saharan Africa to each of the countries or groupings and are expressed in nominal U.S. dollars.

For the sub-Saharan African countries, the analytical subgroups are resource-intensive (oil and non-oil), coastal, and landlocked countries. The listing is provided in Table A2 and is identical to that used in the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlooks for sub-Saharan Africa. Collier (2006) explains why the division is analytically useful. Collier and O’Connell (2006) explain the classification of countries into each group. For reasons explained below, the non-oil resource-intensive classification is of limited usefulness with Comtrade data.

In Chapters 2 and 3, the definition of sub-Saharan Africa corresponds to that of the World Bank and therefore includes Djibouti, Mauritania, and Sudan. These countries, which are not covered by the IMF’s African Department, are not included in the subgroups used in Chapter 4. To maintain consistency of aggregation among the subgroups and the total for all countries, this chapter therefore excludes the three countries from the sub-Saharan African aggregate calculation.

Although comprehensive in many respects, the Comtrade data have some important limitations. One of the most important for the analysis of sub-Saharan African subgroups is that Southern African Customs Union countries other than South Africa have been reporting separate data to Comtrade only since 2000. Two of these countries (Botswana and Namibia) are important non-oil resource-intensive countries whose high-value exports have a large influence on the group. This impedes the ability to analyze trends by comparing years before and after 2000; such comparisons are therefore not reported for the non-oil resource-intensive group. Although Lesotho and Swaziland are also affected by this exclusion, they have a less dominant impact on the landlocked group.

Comtrade data also have some reporting gaps. China does not report data for many product categories for 1985, and no Indian data are yet available for 2005. Furthermore, India does not report fuel imports to Comtrade. Although the values involved of these limitations are relatively small, they should be borne in mind when interpreting the tables and charts.

The four broad sectoral classifications are formed from single-digit SITC categories: food and beverages (SITCs 0, 1, and 4), raw materials (SITC 2), fuels (SITC 3), and manufactures and chemicals (SITCs 5–8).

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