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Working Paper 201 - Does Intra-African Trade Reduce Youth Unemployment in Africa ?Human Capital Development, Youth, Employment, Regional Integration


Discussions on the Doha Development Agenda in the WTO has been going on for years and there are doubts regarding whether or when it will ever be concluded. Thus increasing interest in regional integration is often attributed to the disappointing progress of multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO. This underlines the need for African countries to consider alternatives such as bilateral, subregional, or regional initiatives to increase pro-development trade. For example, the recently published fourth report on Assessing Regional Integration in Africa by the UNECA, AfDB and AUC (2010) emphasizes the importance of regional trade for development and poverty reduction in Africa. It is in this context, that the present study seeks to establish the nature of the relationship between Africa’s intra-regional trade as an effort at regional integration and burgeoning youth unemployment in the continent. Does intra-trade reduce youth unemployment in Africa? From a policy perspective, this is important because youth employment is a key channel through which the benefits of intraregional trade and growth can be shared, especially in African economies with weak safety nets.

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