In This Review

Africa in the Global Economy
Africa in the Global Economy
By Richard E. Mshomba
Lynne Rienner, 2000, 261 pp

This timely and lucid book by a Tanzanian academic examines major issues affecting sub-Saharan African trade. After surveying the domestic policies that often create inauspicious conditions for trade expansion -- such as flawed agricultural policies, overvalued currencies, and negative interest rates -- the author looks in depth at four trade arrangements. The Generalized System of Preferences he considers of minuscule benefit to Africa. But the World Trade Organization agreements on agriculture and textiles are more promising -- if rich countries can overcome their hypocrisy about free trade in these sectors and if African policymakers can take advantage of new opportunities. Meanwhile, international commodity agreements are not the way of the future, even if the resultant cooperation among producers is still useful. Finally, regional economic integration has inspired too much fatuous rhetoric and too little political commitment. Although the book went to press before passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act by Congress last year, it considers the act's implications in some detail. Straight talk from an African perspective.