Exporting Africa: Technology, Trade, and Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa

Exporting Africa: Technology, Trade, and Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa

Exporting Africa: Technology, Trade, and Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa

Exporting Africa: Technology, Trade, and Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa

Synopsis

Exporting Africa explains how firms, which have developed export trade in Sub-Saharan economies, deal with the threats and the promises which rapid technological changes present to Africa.

Excerpt

The economic crisis which has hit Africa in the past decade is raising questions about future prospects for the continent. Questions have been raised about the future position of Africa in world trade and whether Africa has any chance of developing a competitive industrial structure. This book is a modest attempt to address these questions. The stance taken is that there are lessons to be drawn from firms which have been exporting and are continuing to export manufactured products from Africa. A study of such firms can provide useful insights into the process by which they have been maintaining their position in the world market in spite of the general crisis conditions. Some exporting firms have been losing or changing their positions in world trade. Useful lessons can also be derived from the experience of these firms. This book brings insights from the experience of 55 exporting firms from six countries in Africa and draws out some policy implications regarding the prospects of restructuring for export orientation.

In the 1970s, and especially in the 1980s, many countries in Africa experienced economic crises of varying severity. Their economies have been characterized by weak growth in the productive sectors, with the initial spurt of industrial growth faltering, by poor export performance, reflected in the falling share of African exports in world trade and the unchanged export structure, and by increasing debt, a deteriorating economic and social infrastructure and increasing environmental degradation. This crisis has important implications for the prospects of transforming African economies, as envisaged by African governments (e.g. in the Lagos Plan of Action of 1980). The crisis has implications in two policy areas of particular relevance to the theme of this book: the previous import-substitution approach . . .

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