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DETERMINANTS OF EXPORT DIVERSIFICATION AND SOPHISTICATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Manuel Cabral () and Paula Veiga

FEUNL Working Paper Series from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia

Abstract: This paper studies the political and economic factors that determine successful export diversification (ED) and export sophistication (ES) strategies in the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries and also the way in which successful ED and sophistication strategies contribute to explain the improving in some of the millennium development goals (MDG). We run separate regressions for the determinants of ES and ED, using disaggregated data of the 48 SSA countries, from 1960 to 2005. The results suggest that better governance is an important determinant for the success of diversification and sophistication strategies in SSA. In particular the level of corruption, transparency and accountability are important factors in limiting or promoting the scope of diversification and the level of sophistication of the exports. The results also suggest that increases in human capital in SSA countries promote both ED and ES, showing that the level of education of the workforce is positively related with ES and ED, with higher levels of education (tertiary) playing a more important role in explaining ES, while lower levels of education (primary) being more important as determinants of ED. In the second part we explore the links between ED and ES and growth presenting evidence that ED and ES are linked to growth stability in SSA. This study also suggests that the Sub-Saharan countries that were more successful in achieving ED and ES tend to be more successful in improving the living conditions of their population. Using different variables of Infant Mortality (one of the MDG) and life expectancy as dependent variables, we present evidence that suggests that in SSA higher ED and ES are associated with lower infant mortality and higher life expectancy. We show that this result is robust, presenting positive and significant results even when a large number of different control variables are introduced, or when fixed effects and instrumental variables are considered. The evidence suggests that ED and ES are part of the solution for a successful development of SSA. JEL codes:

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev and nep-int
Date: 2010
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