Journal of Economics and Development, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 293-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/JED-05-2021-0072
Economic growth, international trade, and environmental degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa
This study investigates the relationship between economic growth, international trade, and environmental degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), focusing on the validity of the environmental Kuznets hypothesis (EKC), the pollution havens hypothesis (PHH), and the factor endowment hypothesis (FEH).
The study uses annual data for 41 SSA countries between 1990 and 2017 and employs the bias-corrected least square dummy variable (LSDVC) estimation techniques. Environmental degradation is indicated by carbon dioxide (CO2), delicate particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions, and deforestation.
The results confirm the validity of the EKC hypothesis for PM2.5 emissions and deforestation but not for CO2 emissions. The results also indicate that international trade reduces deforestation and that both the PHH and FEH are valid for CO2 emission but not for PM2.5 emissions and deforestation.
In this paper, the authors are able to illustrate that both economic growth and international trade can harm the environment if unchecked. Therefore, the conclusion of this study offers policy options through which SSA countries can achieve desired economic growth goals without affecting environmental quality. The study can be a benchmark for environmental policy in the region.
The authors provide an in-depth discussion of the growth-trade-environmental degradation nexus in SSA. The EKC, PHH, and FEH’s validity confirm that economic growth remains a threat to the local natural environment in SSA. Hence, the need for a trade-off between economic growth needs and environmental degradation and understanding where to compromise to achieve SSA's economic development priorities.
Keywords:Environmental degradation, Economic growth, Sub-Saharan Africa, Environmental Kuznets curve