This paper analyzes the impact of political instability in Cte
d'Ivoire on WAEMU trade over 1990-2007, applying panel econometric
techniques to a gravity model of trade within WAEMU and between
WAEMU and the rest of the world. The paper finds that
intra-regional trade represents a small share of total WAEMU trade
and that Cte d'Ivoire accounts for around half of that total,
highlighting the importance of this country for the region. The
political instability in Cte d'Ivoire has led to an increase in
transaction costs, making it relatively more costly for member
countries to trade with each other than with the rest of world.
Instability has also resulted in a diversion of trade away from Cte
d'Ivoire in favor of other countries equipped with ports and in a
reduction of WAEMU overall potential trade. For Cte d'Ivoire alone,
lost trade is estimated at around 40 percent of its potential trade
with the WAEMU in the absence of instability. With a normalization
in Cte d'Ivoire, enhanced security and further integration would be
essential to achieve higher levels of trade and growth in the WAEMU
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