Uncertain growth perspectives. Evolving trade exchanges in developing countries

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Dependency towards raw materials has many negative effects and may even promote the formation of « poverty traps ». The growth of major emerging countries and their contribution to the rising world demand for goods produced by developing countries seems to soften pessimistic hypotheses stating that long-term growth of countries depending on raw materials is fragilised by deteriorating exchange terms and the prices’ intrinsic volatility. This article underlines, on the one hand, that exchanges between emerging countries and developing countries, while they create opportunities for the latter, contain hazards, notably for their industrial sectors, as illustrated by exchanges between China and Sub-Saharian Africa. This article shows on the other hand that growth periods of developing countries during the noughties have mostly derived from demand for unprocessed products, notably oil, and the resulting rise in stock. The risk is to reinforce these countries’ specialisation and their dependency towards basic products. Empirical evidence confirms the relevancy of pessimistic hypotheses regarding these products’ intrinsic characteristics : declining prices, volatility, economies made vulnerable to outer shocks. These characteristics are an hindrance for the long-term growth of developing countries. These processes emphasise once again that diversification is one of the key mechanisms for growth, as shown by development strategies followed by East Asia’s developmental states.