Doubts Over African Trade Corridor Plans

Huge trade corridors crisscrossing Africa could cause “irrevocable” environmental damage without realising many of their supposed development benefits, say researchers.

Centred on the construction of major roads or railways, these ‘development corridors’ have been touted primarily as a way to boost agricultural markets, mineral exports and economic integration. But an analysis of 33 planned or existing corridors in Sub-Saharan Africa found only five “promising” candidates that are likely to substantially increase farm production without serious side effects.

In the study, another six were labelled “inadvisable” due to negligible agricultural benefits and high environmental costs, while the net benefits of the remaining 22 corridors were judged “marginal” by the team from James Cook University in Australia.

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