The structure of livestock trade in West Africa

This paper uses network analysis to map and characterise live animal trade in West Africa. Building on a database of 42 251 animal movements collected by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) from 2013-17, it describes the structure of regional livestock trade at the network, trade community and market levels. Despite yearly fluctuations in the volumes and spatial patterns of trade, the paper shows that regional livestock trade operates on well-established trade corridors as animals flow in specific directions. The study also confirms that livestock trade is structured around several national and cross-border groups of markets that exchange more animals than expected by chance. Close to two-thirds of all animals are shipped internationally, indicating that regional animal trade in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is remarkably cross-border. Finally, the paper finds that the hub markets that concentrate the most shipments also handle more animals and trade with more markets. Additionally, peripheral markets have more defined roles as primarily origins or destinations of animal shipments than markets in the core of the network. Of the nine key markets identified, three are close to borders, highlighting the importance of Nigeria as a livestock consumption destination for regional livestock production.

Published on September 01, 2020

In series:West African Papersview more titles