Is Trade Openness Relevant in Reducing Food Deficit? Evidence from African Countries


Department of Management Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus, Abbottabad, 22060, Pakistan.



Food deficit is one of the main problems of the developing countries which could be attributed to various determinants and factors. This study highlights the role of trade openness in eradicating food deficits in Sub-Saharan African countries. The estimation techniques employed in this study are capable to control the unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity problems. The findings show that increased trade openness, agricultural production, and population growth have negatively influenced the food deficit problem. Similarly, inflation and domestic investment also appeared to help curb the problem of food deficit. Furthermore, per-person income and political stability have worsened the food deficit problem, while government consumption has not had any significant impact on the food deficit. It is suggested that the African economies shall speed up the process of trade liberalization, and pay favorable attention to the agricultural sector and domestic investment in the presence of moderate inflation to eradicate food deficit.


Baldos, U. L. C., & Hertel, T. W. (2015). The Role of International Trade in Managing Food Security Risks from Climate Change. Food Security, 7(2), 275–290.
Dithmer, J., & Abdulai, A. (2017). Does Trade Openness Contribute to Food Security? A Dynamic Panel Analysis. Food Policy, 69, 218–230.
Dollar, D. (1992). Outward-Oriented Developing Economies Really Do Grow More Rapidly: Evidence from 95 LDCs, 1976-1985. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 40(3), 523–544.
Dzanku, F. M. (2019). Food Security in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the Nexus between Gender, Geography and Off-Farm Employment. World Development, 113, 26–43.
Edwards, S. (1998). Openness, Productivity and Growth: What Do We Really Know? The Economic Journal, 108(447), 383–398.
Fellmann, T., Hélaine, S., & Nekhay, O. (2014). Harvest Failures, Temporary Export Restrictions and Global Food Security: The Example of Limited Grain Exports from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Food Security, 6(5), 727–742.
Frankel, J. A., & Romer, D. H. (1999). Does Trade Cause Growth? American Economic Review, 89(3), 379–399.
Gillson, I., & Fouad, A. (2015). Trade Policy and Food Security: Improving Access to Food in Developing Countries in the Wake of High World Prices. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.
Guha-Khasnobis, B., Acharya, S. S., & Davis, B. (2007). Food Security: Indicators, Measurement, and the Impact of Trade Openness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gustavsson, J., Cederberg, C., Sonesson, U., Otterdijk, R. V., & Meybeck, A. (2011). Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention. Rome: FAO.
Hausman, J. A. (1978). Specification Tests in Econometrics. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 46(6), 1251–1271.
Hoekman, B., & Shepherd, B. (2015). Who Profits from Trade Facilitation Initiatives? Implications for African Countries. Journal of African Trade, 2(1–2), 51–70.
International Food Policy Research Institute. (2017). Annual Report, Retrieved from
Mary, S. (2019). Hungry For Free Trade? Food Trade and Extreme Hunger in Developing Countries. Food Security, 11(2), 461–477.
Maur, J. C., & Shepherd, B. (2015). Connecting Food Staples and Input Markets in West Africa: A Regional Trade Agenda for ECOWAS Countries. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.
Mkandawire, P., & Aguda, N. D. (2009). Characteristics and Determinants Of Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa (3-23). In I. Luginaah and E. Yanful (Eds.), Environment and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: Managing an Emerging Crisis. Dordrecht: Springer.
Mukhtar, A. (2017). Enhancing Food Security in Africa Through Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement. International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). Bridges Africa, 6(3), 1-20.
Population Action International. (2011). Why Population Matters to Food Security. Population Action International Working Paper, Retrieved from
Runge, C. F., Senauer, B., Pardey, P. G., & Rosegrant, M. W. (2003). Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime: Food Security and Globalization. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.
Sakyi, D., & Afesorgbor, S. K. (2019). The Effects of Trade Facilitation on Trade Performance in Africa. Journal of African Trade, 6, 1–15.
Sakyi, D., Bonuedi, I., & Opoku, E. E. O. (2018). Trade Facilitation and Social Welfare in Africa. Journal of African Trade, 5(1–2), 35–53.
Sakyi, D., Villaverde, J., Maza, A., & Bonuedi, I. (2017). The Effects of Trade and Trade Facilitation on Economic Growth in Africa. African Development Review, 29(2), 350–361.
Smith, L. C., Amani, E., El Obeid., & Jensen, H. (2000). The Geography and Causes of Food Insecurity in Developing Countries. Agricultural Economics, 22, 199–215.
Trueblood, M. A., & Shapouri, S. (2001). Implications of Trade Liberalization on Food Security of Low-Income Countries. Economic Research Paper, 33705, 1-2.
Warr, P. (2014). Food Insecurity and Its Determinants. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 58(4), 519–537.
World Economic Forum. (2014). Enabling Trade: From Farm to Fork. World Economic Forum Working Paper, Retrieved from
World Bank. (2012). Africa Can Feed Itself, Earn Billions, and Avoid Food Crises by Unblocking Regional Food Trade. World Bank Working Paper, Retrieved from