Corridors of Power or Plenty? Lessons from Tanzania and Mozambique and Implications for CAADP
The “corridors approach” is fast gaining importance as an economic development strategy, particularly in Africa. Largely based on historical transport connections across the continent, corridors have moved from transport to so-called development corridors, embodying a range of development objectives aimed at overcoming coordination failures in investment and taking advantage of agglomeration and spillover effects, to boost trade and productivity.
Development corridors target an increasingly wide array of policy challenges, with an increasing focus on agriculture. They aim to increase regional trade through better physical and soft infrastructures, improve markets for agricultural inputs and outputs, set out agricultural investment opportunities, engage with international investors, and promote the integration of small-scale producers into international value chains.
SADC Policy Frameworks have adopted corridors as a major policy direction and point to the role of corridors in general and to promote agricultural development. Further, the SADC Regional Agricultural Programme identifies them as key to achieve its four specific objectives.
This study looks at the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) and Maputo Development corridors and their roles in addressing constraints to market integration for agricultural producers and potential lessons for the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) to maximise its impact on smallholders, particularly at the regional level.
While the Maputo corridor is a development corridor in its broadest sense linking Maputo in Mozambique and its South African hinterland, including Johannesburg and the surrounding area, SAGCOT builds on the existing Uhuru (TAZARA) transport corridor between Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and Zambia to focus particularly on agriculture and agri-processing promotion. Their difference in scope provides a useful basis for lesson learning on achieving development goals that can benefit all actors involved, especially smallholders.
The report is based on a review of the relevant literature and stakeholder interviews in Mozambique,
Tanzania and South Africa. The study identifies key issues from discussants and the literature with a view to further promoting frank policy dialogue on the corridor approach in the context of food security and trade facilitation processes.
Corridors can do much for farmers but the existing literature and our interviews tend to show they risk being ‘corridors of power’ rather than ‘corridors of plenty’ so far.
A key finding is that cross-border trade is increasingly improving, particularly for larger operators. This relates in part to corridor-related initiatives to improve both “hard” aspects such as infrastructures and “soft” aspects such as border and port management, often with the support of donors.
Current constraints to regional and national value chain integration reportedly relate more to ‘behind the border’ issues. These include a supportive business environment for domestic farmers and the private sector in general, access to agricultural support services and, the challenge of engaging with smaller producers. Other cross-cutting constraints are very much to do with land access and implementation of tax policy and business regulations.