Geography Paper 2, May/June 2013  
Questions:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   Main
General Comments
Question 3

(a) Define international trade.

(b) Describe any five benefits of international trade.

(c) What four factors limit trade between African countries and the United States of America (USA)?



This question was not so popular with the candidates. Quite a good proportion of the candidates who answered the question scored high marks in the (a) part of the question. However, some of the candidates who answered the question were not able to advance reasons why some countries in Africa have not been able to sustain their rail transport system.

The expected answers were:

- High cost of fuel: Diesel which is the fuel used in most trains is costly and not available in all countries. This has substantially increased the cost of transportation by rail in some countries.

- Low freight/cargo: The quantity of goods in some rail routes is low. This makes the running of the railway transport system uneconomical in such countries.

- Low passenger: The passenger traffic enroute some of the trains in the continent are so low that running the railway system is uneconomical.

- Inadequate technical know-how: the technical experts required for the maintenance of trains are scarce in some countries of Africa. Where they are not available, it will cost much to import technicians. This increased cost of operation may make the running of the railway system uneconomical.

- Inadequate capital: The capital required to maintain the railway transport system are not available in some countries and since the cost of maintenance is high compared to the income generated in some of the countries due to low freight, some of the railway co-operations in Africa were forced to stop operations due to inadequate capital.

- Competition with other modes of transport: Other modes of transport, particularly road is competing for passengers and goods with the railway system. Because of some important reasons that place road transport at advantage over rail in some areas, the railway transport system in such places were grounded.

- Poor management: Some operators of the rail transport system are corrupt as they misappropriated the money meant to run the rail transport system for other uses.

- Inadequate spare parts: The trains used in most African countries are very old. The stock of spare parts is limited, the spare parts of those trains are no more been manufactured having been overtaken by modern technology. The expertise required for local fabrication of spare parts are lacking in some of the countries. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

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