Cotton in Africa: an analysis of differences in performance

The development of African economies depends to a great extent on the performance of their agricultural sector, within which export crops play an important role. However, Africa ' s share of world trade in traditional export crops has declined steadily during the past two decades. This paper focuses on cotton, a key export crop. The world demand for cotton grew at 1.2 percent per annum from 1961 to 1986, less rapidly than cocoa and tea; but Africa ' s demand for cotton grew faster than for most other commodities that it exports. By and large, cotton production in the francophone countries has been superior to that of anglophone countries, even though many of the latter had excelled earlier. This paper attempts to pinpoint the causes of the relative success and failure of different commodity development schemes. It also explains variations in the performance of national cotton subsectors by focusing on the key interactions between price and nonprice factors.




Lele, Uma; Van de Walle, Nicolas; Gbetibouo, Mathurin. 1989. Cotton in Africa : an analysis of differences in performance. Managing agricultural development in Africa (MADIA) discussion paper ; no. 7. Washington, D.C. : The World Bank.