Dhows to Airplanes:Trade between the Arab Gulf and Africa and the Implications for Industrialization

Mwangi wa Githinji

The relationship between the Arabian Gulf and the African continent is a long standing one. While the size of trade itself is impressive, more impressive are the long lasting effects of growth and development that came out of the trade. In this paper we will examine the recent history of trade between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and African countries and its potential impact on industrialization. We will briefly discuss the relationship between trade and industrialization and the degree to which this relationship has held in the post-independence period of African countries.

This will be followed by an examination of the volume and trend in trade between Africa and the Gulf and a first estimation of how it has changed. We follow this with an examination of the sophistication of bilateral exports in an attempt to uncover whether current trade can impact the process of industrial transformation, particularly in the context of the recurrent cyclic crisis of the global economy. We will end the paper with some suggestions on the lessons that policy makers should take away from our exercise.