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Open trade and market access have proven to be key drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction in African countries at every level of development. The ability to trade globally has fostered more openness, stability, and transparency, which in turn has enabled unprecedented economic growth worldwide and contributed to uplifting hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty. African Countries that engage in international trade typically grow faster and provide more opportunities to their people than countries that do not trade openly. Further, by offering consumers access to more affordable goods and services, open trade also helps improve the livelihoods of lower-income communities.
Yet, for the millions of people living in rural areas – where extreme poverty and food insecurity are concentrated – significant barriers exist that prevent them from reaping the full benefits of open trade, including poor and unreliable access to infrastructure and public services, high costs for goods, services, and transport, lower population densities, and poor connectivity. These issues are especially prevalent in African countries affected by violence and conflict, which can directly hinder the ability to trade and raise the price of basic goods and services. Further, women in these contexts are disproportionately affected by poverty and face greater risks and barriers that limit their ability to benefit from the opportunities brought by trade.
In order to fully harness the potential of trade to advance the livelihoods of the 1 billion people who still live off of $1.25 per day, AGRISELANA provides an innovative solution that is needed to address the constraints that limit rural communities from achieving greater economic gains.