Aid for Trade and engaging with global value chains: developing trade and reducing food insecurity?

Research reports and studies
June 2013
Jodie Keane

The research and analysis presented in this paper assesses the role of Aid for Trade (AfT) in assisting the integration of agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) into high-value agricultural global value chains (GVCs).

All trade takes place within value chains, but there are different types, as will be discussed below. The GVC approach is a distinct methodological tool that focuses on the dynamics of inter-firm linkages and international industrial organisation, as opposed to considering the production and export of goods in isolation. This study reviews and makes reference to specific GVCs and country case studies in SSA, including Kenya. It focuses on the country case study of Kenya because interventions to facilitate trade and producers’ integration within GVCs have been ongoing for longer than the term AfT was agreed among World Trade Organisation members (in 2005), and there have been some shifts in approaches as lessons have been learnt.

This paper seeks to explore the following key questions: How has AfT been used to help developing countries to tap into high-value GVCs and global production networks? And how could the potential benefits of the above approach be enhanced and disadvantages be mitigated? These questions are assessed qualitatively, firstly through reviewing the existing literature, including AfT disbursements, modalities and the support used to assist different types of producers (and labourers) in participating in high-value agricultural GVCs. Secondly, the relative success and merits of such an approach are reviewed and assessed using a range of data sources, including in-country key-informant interviews.