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A Fish Cartel for Africa
World Bank
2023.11.28
Many countries sell fishing rights to foreign nations and fishers. Although African coastal waters are among the world’s most biologically rich, African countries earn much less than their peers from selling access to foreign fishers. African countries sell fishing access individually (in contrast to some Pacific countries that sell access as a bloc). This paper develops a bilateral oligopoly model to simulate the effects of an African fish cartel. The model shows that wielding market power entails both ecological and economic dimensions. Africa would substantially restrict access catch, which would increase biomass by 16 percent. This would confer economic benefits to all African nations, raising profits by an average of 23 percent. These benefits arise because market power shifts from foreign buyers to African sellers. Although impediments to sustainable development, like corruption, are hard to change in the medium term, deeper African integration is an already emerging solution to African countries’ economic and ecological challenges.