Africa in the Age of Biology (Africa Human Genome by Wilmot Godfrey James

By Wilmot Godfrey James

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Comparisons over time, across commodities, and among countries are used to help address such questions as: Where is there still a policy bias against agricultural production? Are some developing-country food producers that were once taxed now being protected from import competition, along the lines of such policy transitions seen earlier in Europe and Northeast Asia? Beyond the data themselves, what political and economic circumstances can help explain the policies chosen by governments? What explains the pattern of distortions within the agricultural sector of each country?

Weighted averages across 16 countries 80 60 percent 40 20 0 Ϫ20 Ϫ40 4 19 80 –8 9 19 75 –7 4 19 70 –7 9 19 65 –6 4 19 60 –6 19 55 –5 9 Ϫ60 years exportables import-competing total Source: Anderson and Valenzuela 2008, based on estimates reported in chapters 2–17 of this book. Note: The total NRA can be above or below the exportable and importable averages because assistance to nontradables and non-product-specific assistance are also included. 13. NRAs in Agriculture Relative to Nonagricultural Industries, 16 African Focus Countries, 1955–2004 (percent) a.

Policy choices have played an important role in the rates of economic growth, structural change, and poverty alleviation observed in Africa. Many countries had increasingly severe antiagricultural and antitrade biases in the 1960s and 1970s, with subsequent reforms that varied widely in their starting dates, speed of execution, and extent of policy change. The switch to policies that are less biased against farmers and trade began in some countries by the late 1970s but in many others only in the 1980s or even later—and the transition is still going on, often in fits and starts and even with the occasional reversal (the most notable recent example being Zimbabwe).

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