Charles Kenny points me to a study
of the obstacles to trucking on West African roads, which includes this wonderful
The methodology certainly seems solid to me:
Trained IRTG agents distribute data-collection sheets to drivers in ports
(or inland ports). They choose only drivers with trucks in good condition
(according to legal standards) and with paperwork in order. Their counterparts
at the other end of the corridor collect the completed data-collection sheets
from drivers completing their journeys. If the agents judge the data reliable,
they computerize it and send it to the Information Technology Department of
the UEMOA Commission for analysis.
The road from Bamako to the nearest port is 1,900km long, and the stops delay
truck drivers for between 15 and 38 minutes every 100km (62 miles) – which
would be bad enough even if it weren’t for all the bribes which have to be paid.
This kind of study is crucial to understanding real trade barriers,
as opposed to just the ones which get fought over at international fora such
as the WTO. Here’s
another, from Indonesia.