Agriculture is highly important to the sustainable performance of economies in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and a sound sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) system plays a key role in this respect. SPS measures are one of the many trade topics covered by TPR reports on WTO Members. Therefore, we found it interesting to explore the extent to which the WTO Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) has contributed to providing a comprehensive picture of SPS systems in SSA countries, and venues for a more in-depth analytical framework.
The main purpose of the paper is to present the coverage of SPS systems in SSA countries by TPR reports, and their main findings. It also opens the discussion as to whether the SPS analytical framework in TPR reports has been sufficiently comprehensive and beneficial in guiding technical assistance (TPR follow-up) activities in SSA. At the outset, we briefly present the strategic importance of agriculture in SSA countries, with a description of the link between an effective SPS regulatory system and the performance of agriculture.
This paper is neither a comparative study on the work done by the WTO Secretariat and other organisations whose mandate is exclusively SPS related, nor a research paper to analyse SPS issues in SSA.
For this work, the main source of our information consists of the series of TPR reports on SSA countries, particularly sections on SPS; standards, including inspections and conformity assessment; customs procedures; and agriculture policies.