Labour Markets, Poverty, and Development

By Giorgio Barba Navaretti; Riccardo Faini et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Promoting the Strong or Supporting the Weak? Technological Gaps and Segmented Labour Markets in Sub-Sahara African Industry

Giorgio Barba Navaretti


The fairly extensive literature on sub-Saharan African enterprises provides incontrovertible evidence of duality and a remarkably low rate of graduation from small-scale, low-productivity activities to those involving larger scale and modern technologies.1

Large numbers of firms with less than five employees survive, in the same industry, along with medium-large firms mostly under foreign or state ownership. While the number of indigenous enterprises has increased rapidly in the 1980s, especially in response to recession, the rate of graduation of firms into larger size has been very low in most African countries. The dynamism of African enterprises in other ways, such as the deepening of local linkages, productivity increase, product or technology diversification, and export performance, has also been low in relation to other industrializing areas. There are few signs that the duality in the industrial structure has been reduced by the modernization of the traditional sector or by diffusion of technology from large to small enterprises.

Intra-industry technological gaps2 are often explained in terms of segmentation and the imperfections of factor markets other than the market for technology. For example, small firms use different technologies

This paper expands previous work carried out by the author for the Regional Programme on Enterprise Development of the Africa Technical Department of the World Bank. Thanks to the programme manager, Tyler Biggs, for granting permission to use the data bank. Most of the ideas developed here emerged during long discussions with Sanjaya Lall and Ganeshan Wignaraja. Comments from participants at the Centro Studi d'Agliano conference, and particularly from Regina Galhardi, Riccardo Faini, and Frances Stewart, are gratefully acknowledged. Andrea Bigano gave very skilful research assistance and Marcella Fantini, useful advise. Financial support was provided by the Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano and by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

Kilby ( 1988); Liedholm ( 1992); Liedholm and Mead ( 1988); Lall ( 1987b); Lall et al. ( 1994); Levy ( 1990); Pack ( 1993); Page ( 1979); Steel and Evans ( 1984); World Bank ( 1989).
Technological gaps refer to differences in the type of technology used (e.g. hand looms v. mechanical looms), which, in turn, reflect in differences in capital-labour ratios.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Labour Markets, Poverty, and Development


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 264

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?