Connecting African urban areas: airline networks and intra-Sub-Saharan trade

Despite efforts to enhance the efficiency of the African air transportation sector through such actions the Yamoussoukro Decision, African represents less than 2% of the world’s air passenger kilometers. This is despite the fact that air transportation can act as a means of transporting traded goods directly (including the individuals that are the “product” of tourism) and provide complementary services of labor mobility for those engaged in the production of more bulky goods that are shipped by land and maritime modes. We examine the network of intra-Sub-Saharan African airline connections to highlight the differential access enjoyed by the region’s largest cities. Second, we develop a quantitative framework linking the availability of air connections to the main international trade flows in sub-Sahara Africa. Our findings suggest that, although there is a positive link between air transportation and economic development in Africa, the multilateral efforts at reducing institutional impediments to more open aviation markets have not produced significant results.

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