WTO Accession Reforms and Competitiveness – Lessons for Africa

This chapter evaluates the impact on competitiveness of reforms undertaken by recently acceded countries and draws lessons for African countries pursuing the goal of becoming emerging economies. By comparing reform outcomes before and after accessions relative to control groups using the difference-in-difference evaluation method, the chapter concludes that the recently acceded members improved their international competitiveness, although the overall impact was relatively small and differed substantially across economies, economic sectors and time. African economies aspiring to become emerging economies could build on the experience of recently acceded countries by designing long-term reform agendas similar to the accession reform packages, locking them into a credible policy framework through a series of domestic and international agreements, frontloading reforms to gain credibility and persisting in their implementation, balancing short-term costs with long-term benefits and learning from Article XII peers who have gained substantial experience in managing complex reforms.

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