Research on sub-Saharan Africa's unrecorded international trade: some methodological and conceptual problems

TitleResearch on sub-Saharan Africa's unrecorded international trade: some methodological and conceptual problems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsS.D.K. Ellis, and J. MacGaffey
Secondary TitleAfrican studies review : the journal of the African Studies AssociationAfrican studies review
Volume39
Issue2
Pagination19 - 41
Date Published1996///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, illicit trade, international trade, Subsaharan Africa
Abstract

This paper describes some of the methodological and conceptual problems in researching aspects of sub-Saharan Africa's international 'underground' trade, meaning commercial transactions which are conducted across international frontiers but which are unrecorded in official data. The authors focus in particular on trade across intercontinental frontiers. They consider some problems of identifying and researching long-distance trade, and particularly intercontinental trade, which is illegal, unofficial or informal. They do so at two levels: first, by looking at sources of evidence for intercontinental flows (the examples of ivory and drugs); second, by adopting a 'bottom-up' approach, studying activities of individuals or small groups of intercontinental traders with a view to extrapolating from their activities in order to draw conclusions of wider application. Finally, they make some remarks concerning new modes of unofficial trade and the people who participate in them. Bibliogr., notes, ref. (Also published in French in: Cahiers d'├ętudes africaines, vol. 37, cah. 145 (1997), p. 11-37.)

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9112
Citation Key1764