Using a gravity model for 35 countries and the years 1995-2006 we estimate the impact of regional trade agreements in Africa (in particular ECOWAS and SADC) and compare this to the a benchmark of North South trade integration (Europe’s preferential trade agreement). We find that • ECOWAS and SADC membership significantly increases bilateral trade flows (and by more than for example preferential trade agreements with the EU do), • SADC membership has a stronger impact compared to ECOWAS and • that the impact of multi-membership critically depends on the characteristics of the overlapping RTA. We find a positive impact if an additional membership complements the integration process of the original RTA: overlapping memberships had a significant positive effect on bilateral trade within the ECOWAS bloc but it is insignificant for SADC.

North-South trade, South-South trade, Sub Sahara Africa, gravity model, international trade, intra-regional trade, multi-membership, regional economic integration
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
hdl.handle.net/1765/22781
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Afesorgbor, S.K, & van Bergeijk, P.A.G. (2011). Multi-membership and the effectiveness of regional trade agreements in Western and Southern Africa. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 520, pp. 1–38). International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/22781