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.
|Series||ISS working papers series. General series|