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Africa-Trade Seminar: Africa in the New Trade Environment: A Research Agenda

June 12, 2018

World Bank J Building, JB1–080


Most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, excluding Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, are among the smallest in the world in terms of the size of their domestic markets. What should be the policy strategy to help overcome their low economic density, long distance to world and regional markets, and thick borders?

One initiative that can strengthen the integration of SSA countries is the Framework Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed by 44 countries in Rwanda on March 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, four of SSA’s resource-rich countries did not sign the agreement:  Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Without them, the signatories trade less than 5% regionally, compared with 25% for SSA as a whole.

Preferential trade agreements to leading world markets are other initiatives available to boost SSA trade. Among them, two stand out: the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Everything But Arms (EBA), respectively extended by the United States and the European Union since 2001. This Africa-Trade Seminar will showcase various aspects of these initiatives and more, to inform a research agenda on Africa in the New Trade Environment.

  • 12.30-1.00 – Overview of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by Albert Mudenda Muchunga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission, followed by Q&A.

    1 pm – 1:30 pm (ET): Ignite-style presentations showcasing research work under the Africa in the New Trade Environment Research Agenda in collaboration with the World Bank Africa Chief Economist’s Office (AFRCE), the Trade and International Unit (DECTI) of the World Bank’s Development Research Group, and the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice (MTI).

    Topics include:

    • Estimating the Trade Impact of AGOA and EBA on African countries: Gravity vs Synthetic Control Methods, Souleymane Coulibaly, Lead Economist for Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo, The World Bank Group
    • The Impact of AGOA on African Exports: Estimation from Disaggregated Trade Data
       Ana Fernandes, Senior Economist, DECTI, The World Bank Group
    • Measuring the Impact of Non-Tariff Measures on Sub-Saharan Africa Trade
      Hiau Kee, Senior Economist, DECTI, The World Bank Group
    • Content of Free Trade Agreements and their Impacts on Trade
      Michele Ruta, Lead Economist, MTI, The World Bank Group

    1.30 pm – 2 pm: Discussion and Way Forward


  • Albert G. Zeufack

    World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa

    Dr. Albert G. Zeufack, a Cameroonian national, is the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa. Prior to his appointment in May 2016, he was Practice Manager in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice and leader of the World Bank-wide Community of Practice for the Management of Natural Resources Rents. His main research interest is in the micro-foundations of macroeconomics. Dr. Zeufack received his Ph.D. in economics from CERDI, the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) where he taught before joining the World Bank. He holds a master’s degree in economic analysis and policy from the University of Yaoundé (Cameroon) and has received Executive Education from Harvard University and Stanford University. Dr. Zeufack is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Natural Resource Charter at the University of Oxford, a member of the Advisory Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Network, and a member of the Board of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

    Caroline Freund

    Director, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment

    Caroline Freund is Director of Trade, Regional Integration and Investment Climate. Previously she was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. She has also worked as Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, after working for nearly a decade in the international trade unit of the research department. She began her career in the international finance division of the Federal Reserve Board and spent a year visiting the research department of the IMF. She has published extensively in academic journals and is the author of Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms. She is a US national and received a PhD in economics from Columbia University (USA).

    Albert Mudenda Muchunga

    Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission

    Albert Muchunga of Zambia was elected Commissioner for Trade and Industry in January 2017. He previously held senior positions in the civil and diplomatic service in Zambia, including as Ambassador and as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for Parliamentary Affairs. His government service focused on issues of economic policy, regional integration, sustainable development, and foreign affairs. He also served in the SADC Secretariat. He has a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Zambia and an MA in Economics from Vanderbilt University (USA).

    Souleymane Coulibaly

    Lead Economist for Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo

    Souleymane Coulibaly, from Cote d'Ivoire, holds a double Ph.D. degree in International Trade and Economic Geography from the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (France) and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). His publications and ongoing research deal with the impact of geography on firms’ location, trade flows and regional integration. He was a co-author of 2009 World Development Report "Reshaping Economic Geography", contributed to the 2005 Global Economic Prospect report on regionalism, and recently published “Eurasian Cities: New Realities along the Silk Road” in the ECA regional studies series. He has working experience in the Africa and in the Eastern and Central Asia regions. Before joining the World Bank as a Young Professional in September 2006, he was a lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Statistiques et d’Economie Appliquée (ENSEA) of Abidjan, teaching assistant at the University of Lausanne, and economist at the Economic and International Relations department of NESTLE in Vevey, Switzerland.

    Ana Fernandes

    Senior Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank Group

    Ana Margarida Fernandes is a senior economist in the Trade and International Integration Unit of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. She holds a B.A. from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, (Portugal) and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University (USA). Her research interests include the consequences of openness to trade and FDI for firm-level outcomes such as productivity, innovation, and quality upgrading and more broadly the determinants of firm performance, including the role of the business environment. Recently her work has been focusing on the impact evaluation of trade-related policy interventions (such as export promotion and customs reforms). Since 2011 she has been managing the Exporter Dynamics Database project and working on the link between exporter growth and dynamics, development and policies. Her research has been published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, the World Bank Economic Review, among other scholarly publications.

    Hiau Looi Kee

    Senior Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank Group

    Hiau Looi Kee is a Senior Economist with the Trade Team of the World Bank Research Department. Her research focuses on trade, productivity and growth at the firm and aggregate level. Her current projects include studying the domestic value-added in exports, shared-supplier spillovers of FDI, rules of origin and firm productivity in Bangladesh's garment sector and large scale estimations of import demand elasticities, ad valorem equivalent of non-tariff measures, and trade restrictiveness indexes. Her work has been published in many general interests economics journals and the top field journals. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Davis (USA).

    Michele Ruta

    Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice, The World Bank Group

    Michele Ruta is Lead Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice of the World Bank Group, where he leads the work program on regional integration. He holds a PhD in economics from Columbia University (USA) and an undergraduate degree from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy). Michele’s research interests are in international economics, and particularly on issues concerning international/regional integration. He has published in refereed journals such as the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of the European Economic Association. He was a lead author of the World Trade Report of the WTO between 2008 and 2013, and contributed to many policy reports, including the Global Economic Prospects of the World Bank, and the World Economic Outlook of the IMF. His work has been cited, among others, in the Economist, Financial Times, Guardian, Le Monde.


  • Date: Tuesday June 12, 2018
  • Time: 12:30 pm – 2 pm (ET)
  • LOCATION: World Bank J Building, Room JB1–080
  • CONTACT: Rose-Claire Pakabomba