Trade in services -- a key path for development – is growing fast. Services:
- Generate more than two-thirds of global GDP
- Create the largest number of jobs
- Attract more than three-quarters of FDI
- Services tend to employ a higher share of women than other sectors
- Create business opportunities for small firms
Yet many countries retain multiple barriers on cross-border trade in services, investment, and consumer and labor mobility. Before such barriers are removed, they must be identified. That isn’t always easy: many are embedded in regulations that serve legitimate public policy goals.
To identify those barriers, a regulatory survey of services trade policies in African economies was carried out by the World Bank and WTO in 2020-2022, in conjunction with the AfCFTA Secretariat and with the financial support of GIZ, the EU, and ITC.
The survey is unprecedented in geographic coverage, sectoral scope, and depth. It covers 54 economies and 33 services subsectors and identifies 400 measures affecting trade. The extent to which each law or regulation impedes trade can be measured using the World Bank/WTO Services Trade Restrictiveness Index.