Turning Crisis into Opportunity? Agricultural Exports to China during the Trade War

Early literature on the US–China trade war postulated that the scenario would result in an unprecedented economic opportunity for Africa, as it would force China to further diversify its agricultural import partners. African countries, already economically linked to China, would see renewed demand for their produce. Yet other literature argued that such a vacuum would readily be filled by China’s Asian neighbours, instead of the geographically distal Africa. Using regional case studies of African agricultural exporting countries, this paper looks at the first year of the trade war to see if this optimism has proved to be well founded. Its findings demonstrate that in 2018 and 2019 African regions saw a declining pattern of growth while other regions, particularly Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, witnessed continuous growth, with an aggregate of 79.42% and 84.05% respectively. Asia’s growth was the most consistent.