Many of the goods and services that we consume are not produced by ourselves. We rely on others to provide these goods. We trade. This is truer, the more complex and more advanced an economy becomes. Like people, countries trade too. This is called international trade. Why is commodity trade of such vital importance? Does free trade foster economic development? Do historical trade patterns affect us today? What are the risks of international trade? What insights does history teach us with respect to the recent commodity trade boom in Africa? These are the questions that we cover in this chapter on trade. We first look at the benefits of trade through the lense of trade theory. We then describe the development of trade in Africa from early times to today. We finally discuss the lessons trade history provides when it comes to the recently good performance of Africa countries.
Moradi, Alexander (2020). “Commodity Trade and Development: Theory, History, Future”, In Ewout Frankema, Ellen Hillbom, Ushehwedu Kufakurinani and Felix Meier zu Selhausen (eds.), The History of African Development: An Online Textbook for a New Generation of African Students and Teachers. African Economic History Network.