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3. Some conceptual issues and methodology of the study

Some conceptual issues
The dynamics of firm capabilities
Guiding questions of the study
The case study approach
Sampling: firms, industries and countries
Implementation of the study

Some conceptual issues

Chapter 1 indicated that the main aim of this book is to explore and present some insights into the process of creating and maintaining the capabilities which are needed for attaining and maintaining competitiveness in export markets. For the purposes of this study the concepts of 'capability' and competitiveness in export markets' will need to be clarified.

Competitiveness in export markets implies high levels of productivity. In order to understand the concept of international competitiveness it is useful to revisit the concepts of productivity and efficiency, concepts which are often taken for granted.

The productivity of a production unit is the ratio of its output to its input. Productivity differences are accounted for by differences in production technology, differences in the efficiency of the production process and differences in the environment in which production occurs. Three problems of measurement arise here: the identification of inputs and outputs to be included in the analysis, what weights (prices) should be used in the aggregation process and (if one is comparing actual productivity with what is theoretically achievable) the determination of the potential of the production unit (Lovell, 1993).1

The efficiency of a production unit is the ratio between the observed and the potential maximum output obtainable from a given input, or the ratio of minimum potential input to the observed input required to produce a given output, Koopmans (1951)2 introduced a formal definition of technical efficiency, i.e. a producer is technically efficient if an increase in any output requires a reduction of at least one other output or an increase in at least one input, and if a reduction in any input requires an increase in at least one other input or a reduction in at least one output. Debreu (1951) and Farell (1957)3 introduced a measure of technical efficiency, equal to one minus the maximum equi-proportionate reduction in all inputs which would allow the continued production of given outputs. Debreu/Farell technical efficiency has been shown to be necessary but not sufficient for Koopmans' technical efficiency (Lovell, 1993). Variations in technical efficiency have been attributed to variations in the factors under the control of the producers (managerial input being the most common culprit), while variations in allocative efficiency have been attributed to divergence between expected and actual prices, the persistent over- or under-valuation of prices, discrimination, nepotism and satisfying behaviour.

Two important elements are often missing in discussions of efficiency in the economics literature. First, very little effort has been devoted to integrating the literature on the theory of production under uncertainty into the efficiency measurement literature. Second, the wide literature on the internal organization of the firm has not made any impression on the efficiency measurement literature, despite its obvious relevance for the measurement of producer performance (Lovell, 1993). In their efforts to develop hypotheses on efficiency variation, economists have made little use of insights from the literature on the internal organization of the firm. This book aims to make a contribution to filling this gap by examining various capabilities which are created and built up inside the firm.

International competitiveness has much to do with the ability to export, and in that process trade surpluses can be generated. However, international competitiveness is much more than simply the ability to export or generate trade surpluses, since these can be achieved temporarily through exchange rate action or the reduction of domestic expenditures. For instance, the greater utilization of capacity permitted by the foreign exchange which has become available with the implementation of SAPs in some countries in Africa may be important in the short run but may not necessarily be a source of sustained growth in TFP. In many African countries SAPs have not resulted in significantly greater capacities to produce exports, let alone the unchanged structure of the export sector. What is not yet clear is the extent to which even this availability of foreign exchange is sustainable. Sustainability would have to rest on greater capacity to earn foreign exchange, rather than more generous donor response in support of SAPs (Pack, 1993).4

As the experience of South Korea has shown, although export performance has been the main practical measure of progress towards international competitiveness, it has not been sufficient in itself. There are also various dynamic considerations such as the need to accept reformulations in the light of information gained (market signals, perceptions about industrial operations and potentials) during implementation (Pack and Westphal, 1986).

International competitiveness cannot adequately be explained in terms of low labour costs, especially considering the recent experience of countries such as Germany and Switzerland which are maintaining international competitiveness in spite of their high labour costs. Explanations based on natural resource endowments are put in doubt by the success of resource-poor countries such as South Korea and Japan. Explanations based on the level of productivity alone fail to deal with the problems the US economy is facing in some export markets, in spite of being the world leader in productivity levels.

The widely employed approach to the measurement of competitiveness based on prices, costs and exchange rates is losing ground, following a study by Kaldor (1978)5 and other studies which show that a drop in relative unit wage costs and in export prices had occurred simultaneously with losses in world export market shares for manufacturing. For the US, this finding was confirmed by the Brookings Institution. Fagerberg (1988)6 found that the main factors of international competitiveness were technological advancement and the ability to compete on delivery. In spite of these findings, much of government policy is still based on the cost price approach, neglecting these improved understandings of the role of technology. investment and organizational change.

International competitiveness is a multi-dimensional concept embracing the ability to export, the efficient use of resources and increasing productivity which ensures rising living standards for a nation. The international competitiveness of a nation is indicated by its ability to produce goods and services that meet the requirements of international markets under conditions of fair trade while maintaining and raising the real incomes of its citizens. In this context, it has been suggested that competitiveness may be indicated by at least four indicators: labour productivity, real wage growth, real returns on capital, and position in world trade (OECD, 1992a).7

International competitiveness is influenced by three factors: the macroeconomic environment. the ability to use and develop technology to reduce costs, improve product quality and generate new products and the ability to market products successfully. The debate on competitiveness implies a role and responsibility for government, not only in ensuring a stable macroeconomic environment but also in influencing technological development and marketing.

International competitiveness can be attained by exerting efforts at various levels: actions taken at firm level, actions and policies adopted at industry level and macroeconomic policies adopted at national level. In his review of recent writings by American authors on the competitiveness issue, Nelson (1992)8 has recognized these three levels and classified the literature in three clusters: authors who take firms as competitors and focus on factors that are internal to firms, authors who focus on the macroeconomic policy variables, and the cluster of authors who focus on active industrial policy by governments. Nelson has rightly viewed these three clusters of literature on competitiveness as complementary. While detailed comparative studies of firms have demonstrated that many American firms can do a lot on their own to become more competitive, they have found strong similarities among firms in the same country and inter-country differences regarding the structure, behaviour and performance of firms. This points to the importance of the environment (industrial policy and macroeconomic policy) in which the firms are operating. The authors who focus on active industrial policy have demonstrated that non-convexities and externalities are present in many industries, especially where technical advance is important. The field of industrial organization has traditionally viewed an industry (its unit of analysis) in terms of the firms that constitute it and its government regulators. However, recent research results make it possible to view industries as systems involving a mix of institutions (e.g. private firms, industry associations and professional societies, public R&D institutions and training institutions) which are in many ways complementary.

Although the approach adopted in this book emphasizes factors that are internal to firms, factors that are external to the firms (at industry or national level) are addressed as important complements.

It may be difficult to obtain adequate data to measure costs or efficiency. Subject to data availability, various proxies could be used to give reasonable indications of the relative and absolute levels of efficiency. The following indicators could be used selectively, according to the availability of data: export performance over time, productivity gains over time (labour productivity, total factor productivity), domestic resource costs and the effective rate of protection. The inadequacy of some of these static measures is well known. For instance, it has been pointed out that the use of domestic resource cost measures (DRCs) to establish the extent of international competitiveness is inadequate. Even if an investment or intervention achieves a low DRC, this does not necessarily mean that the effort will be socially profitable. The present discounted value of producers' surplus after international competitiveness is achieved will need to be compared with the discounted cost of protection (representing foregone consumers' surpluses) and any excess of production cost (e.g. R&D) over the international prices of the protected commodity (Pack, 1993). However, this caution is perhaps superfluous, since such comparisons are not known to have been used to guide major investment decisions in the technologically advanced countries. The difficulty of any attempt to use this criterion would be aggravated by the need to grapple with unquantifiables such as learning effects (including intra- and inter-firm) and many R&D spill-overs. A more serious weakness of DRCs is that high DRCs do not distinguish between the various sources of inefficiency, i.e. between allocative inefficiency (along the isoquant) and technical inefficiency (outside the best-practice isoquant or inside the production frontier). In addition, the DRCs do not reveal the dispersion of TFPs within an industry. Such dispersions indicate the potentials for TFP improvement through the inter-firm diffusion of technology.

Efforts have also been made to identify patterns in the manufacturing and management processes which seem to account for differential performance and competitive gaps and to deduce how the outcome has been influenced by the histories of the firms and how they have been evolving over time. A regionally and/or internationally competitive firm is not only one which has eliminated the competitive gap but also one which has gained some mastery of the key components of its production and exporting activity. In this sense, it will be necessary to try to understand the dynamic features which reflect the presence or absence of continuous struggle to attain excellence. To the extent that this study is investigating an essentially dynamic phenomenon, static criteria such as sales, quality, return on investment or prices of stocks can at best tell only part of the story, since they will not adequately capture the dynamics of firm development of capabilities. If these measures are observed over time they may capture some of the dynamics but they will need to be supplemented by more qualitative measures. Some of these measures are: whether the firm has innovative management, whether it exhibits unique ways of doing business, its degree of flexibility in dealing with changing environments, and whether the management of the firm has a vision.

The dynamics of firm capabilities

The firm as a unit of analysis

While recognizing the influence of macroeconomic policy and industrial policy, the premise adopted in this book is that it is primarily firms which compete and continue to develop the capability to remain competitive. Such firms achieve their competitiveness in a broader macroeconomic and sectoral policy context. Therefore the objective, to understand how firms have been developing their capabilities to survive and compete in export markets, is pursued within a broader macro and sectoral policy context.

In a study of this kind it is important to be cautious and to avoid taking it for granted that success of a few firms necessarily leads to success for an economy. In this context, this study tries to understand the conditions which influenced the process by which firms accumulated their capabilities to compete, with a view to assessing their sustainability and consistency with other aspects of development such as the development of indigenous skills, infrastructure and technological change in other firms in the same sector or in other sectors. It is important to establish the basis for the achievement that various firms have made over time. The study attempts to make a distinction between firms on the 'high road' to efficiency (based on improved technology, organization and marketing while maintaining or increasing real wages) and those on the 'low road' to efficiency (based on reducing real wages, tax revenues and the reward to other local factors). The guiding hypothesis here is that the sustainability of rising factor rewards will be ensured where the capacity to generate and appropriate technology rents is developed on a continuous basis.

The focus of the study is at firm level. It examines the internal and external influences on the process of acquiring and building technological and other capabilities of firms as seen from the standpoint of firms.

Studying firm-level capabilities: three components

In studying the dynamics of firm-level capabilities, attention has been given to three main components:

1 Firm histories are examined with a view to getting insights into the process through which firms have been acquiring (or losing) their competitiveness over time.

2 The present strategies and core capabilities of the firms are addressed, and also how they are being created and maintained (or lost) over time.

3 Developments in technology and world market conditions which are deemed relevant to the selected industries are addressed.

Firm histories

Firm histories are expected to shed light on the path the firms have followed over time and the historical conditions which have influenced that path towards (or away from) regional and/or international competitiveness. An attempt was made to form a picture of the evolution over time of factors such as the firm's ownership structure, technological processes, quality of production, export efforts, strategies and human resource development efforts, along with more easily quantified indicators such as size (in terms of workforce size, sales, total assets or investment), production, inputs and output mix and unit cost. The linkages between the firm and other firms and institutions were also considered. This could include, for instance, subcontracting relationships, demand conditions and types of markets, the industry structure, links with suppliers of equipment and inputs and with the providers of technical services and other services, infrastructure and government policies and regulations (macro, sectoral or specific).

Present strategies, core capabilities and levels of competitiveness

The current state of firm strategies and core capabilities were investigated and efforts have been made to identify the forces and influences which are impinging on the following: the formulation and reformulation of the strategies, the process of creating and sustaining their core capabilities, relationships with customers and competitors, linkages to supportive industries, physical configuration of the manufacturing and management process, core procedures and systems or routines and coordination of product and process design, adaptations and improvements, and related innovations.

Firm strategies consist of motivations, scope, time horizon and target segments. The following strategies have been included: investment strategies, production strategies, marketing strategies, innovation strategies (imitation, adaptations, technology search locally and in other countries, product development, internal and external linkages) and human resource development strategies. First, an attempt has been made to identify each firm's intended position. Second, the means of pursuing or implementing those intentions has been identified. Such means may include decisions to specialize or diversify, nature of product offerings, types of competitive strengths and how these are employed to compete with others in the industry and the role of technological change. In order to understand better the process of implementation, management control processes are examined. The following aspects have been addressed:

• whether standards are set.

• how performance is measured.

• how actual performance compares to the standards set.

• how decisions on corrective action and feedback are made.

Core capabilities have been categorized in terms of investment, production, organization, searching for new courses of action, marketing and linkages. Each of these will be discussed later. However, in recent years it has increasingly been realized that technological capabilities, in development and innovation, are a major determinant of international competitiveness.

Enos (1991)9 has defined technological capability as something that enables a developing country to exploit existing techniques fully and, ideally, to improve upon those that are not perfectly suited to the country involved. He identified three components of technological capability: the individual constituents, their organization and their purpose. Technological capabilities in industry are defined as the information and skills (technical, managerial and institutional) that allow productive enterprises to utilize equipment and technology efficiently (Lall et al., 1993). Technological development is the process of building up such capabilities (Lall et al., 1993). Factors influencing industrial technology development are divided into three groups: the incentive framework (the demand side, largely originating from the macroeconomic environment and conditions in the major markets, such as their growth prospects), the supply factors (skills, finance, information), and institutions (the organizations set up to support the functioning of the supply factors). The process of technological development is evolutionary, involving conscious and purposeful efforts in buying some inputs from the market and providing others in-house, depending on factors such as technology, market conditions and firm strategies. In developing technological capabilities, firms also operate in a network of formal and informal relationships with suppliers, customers, competitors, consultants and various S&T (science and technology) institutions.

Technological capability may be an input into other economic activities (links formed on the input side representing the creation of technological capabilities) or an output representing the contribution it can make to the rest of the economy (Enos, 1991). Technological capability augments the firm's competitiveness in export markets in two ways: by enabling the firm to utilize the current stock of its resources more effectively or efficiently and by permitting a firm to advance more rapidly its mastery of technology. This book is concerned with the build-up of technological capabilities, possibly along with other types of capabilities (e.g. marketing, organizational), as a major contribution to improving the international competitiveness of exporting firms.

As was said above, eve capabilities have been categorized into those relating to investment, production, organization, marketing and searching for new courses of action, marketing and linkages. The state of human resource development is a factor in all of these activities, in terms of types and levels of skills, recruitment policies and approaches to upgrading skills (extent and organization of in-house training, training outside the firm in local institutions and abroad), labour relations, remuneration policies and practice (absolute and relative to competitors or other sectors) and quality of working conditions.

Investment capability

The capacity to make investments includes the capacity to undertake project activities such as: project identification, feasibility studies (marketing, technical, management and financial studies), preparation, design, setting up and commissioning and the financial management and mobilization of resources (short-term and long-term finance, managerial and technical skills, technology, foreign exchange).

Production capabilities

The capacity to carry out and manage production activities consists of plant and equipment, plus human resource capabilities in production management (planning, scheduling and work procedures. execution of orders), production engineering (raw material control and material use standards, standard production times, quality control) and repair and maintenance. Access to various critical resources was examined (short-term and long-term finance, managerial and technical skills, technology, foreign exchange).

Organizational capabilities

Organization capabilities consist of capabilities to relate and coordinate all necessary functions with a view to utilizing effectively various existing capacities in the firm or outside the firm. The following capabilities have been examined: general management capabilities (sharing responsibilities for each key area, long-term direction and cohesion, definition and clarity of policies and procedures and whether they are adhered to and reviewed for effectiveness, measurement and analysis of performance, information flow and its utilization in decision-making, awareness of external factors and other linkages impinging on the firm, overall assessment of the quality of management), management of technology, division of labour, mobilization of resources and capabilities to cope with new situations.

At the level of administration and marketing, the degree and pattern of introduction of new technologies over time was studied: office work (word processing, filing, mailing), accounts (payroll' accounting), information (acquisition, storage, manipulation and distribution) and the management of the marketing function (e.g. records of clients, analysis of market trends).

Innovation capabilities

Innovation capabilities consist of search capabilities and the capacity to integrate the results of such searches. Search capabilities are those required to find new ways of carrying out the firm's investment, production' marketing and organizational activities. The search for new routines is likely to be reflected in efforts to create new patterns of human resource development (through training in-house or outside the firm), in R&D (formal and informal), in searches for technological information from local and foreign sources and in technological adaptations and market research (study of market trends and potential markets and of the possibilities of introducing new products).

In response to changing market conditions and technological developments in their industry, firms are expected to introduce changes to their products (product mix, specifications and quality) and their production process (intensity of use of the various factors of production and technology requirements, e.g. flexibility, standardization, automation, computerization). This may also involve the introduction of new technologies and other new ways of carrying out production, marketing and administration. For instance, some studies of African industry have indicated that there have been improvements in product quality and changes in product design in response to changes in market demand and tastes (e.g. Ndlela et al., 1990; Amdi (n.d.); both as cited in Herbert-Copley, 1992).10 The extent to which this has happened has been of interest for this study.

The degree and pattern of the introduction of new technologies in the various manufacturing activities, such as design, control, storage, inventory, measurement and testing, have been examined.

Marketing capabilities

Marketing capabilities have been examined in the context of domestic and export markets with emphasis on the latter. The following aspects have been covered: the ability to maintain market shares as changes in technology and demand take place, the ability to collect and analyse relevant market information, product policies (introducing new products and abandoning unprofitable ones), price policies, distribution policies, product promotion policies, efficiency of the sales force and related incentives.

Linkage capabilities

Linkage capabilities consist of linkages which are supportive to, or influence the development and utilization of, a firm's internal capabilities. The following linkages have been considered: purchasing of complementary capabilities from consulting firms; licensing, management or marketing agreements; joint ventures; linkages with other institutions providing technical services; interactions with factor market conditions and with prevailing demand conditions (aggregate demand, export demand, the structure of demand and the link with customers); interaction with local and foreign competitors; government policy (macro and sectoral policies) and regulations (whether supportive or obstructive); linkages with various input suppliers (e.g. subcontracting relations, links with local and foreign technology suppliers); interactions with domestic and international finance institutions; and any other incentive structures which influence the firm's search for new opportunities.

Developments in technology and world market conditions

Studying this component of firm-level capabilities has entailed identification of the state of the art, recent trends and prospects relating to technological and world market conditions which impinge on the industries covered in the study.

Guiding questions of the study

The guiding questions of the study are as follows:

1 What factors and processes have influenced the path various firms have followed in attaining or losing regional and/or international competitiveness?

2 How have exporting firms been coping (or failing to cope) with changing technological and market conditions?

3 What lessons and policy implications can be drawn out from insights gained about the process by which exporting firms have been maintaining (or losing) their position in export markets?

The case study approach

The case study approach can be applied to at least three different situations in evaluation research: to explain the causal links in real-life interventions that are too complex for other research strategies, to describe the real-life context in which an intervention has occurred or for illustrative purposes, and to explore those situations where a single set of outcomes is not clear (Yin, 1984).11 This approach is particularly important when starting a new line of research and developing categories. In the process, new perspectives can be generated (Reid, 1987).12 Case studies are the preferred approach when 'how' and 'why' questions are being posed, when the investigator has very little control over events and when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context (Yin, 1984).

Studies of industrialization or trade in Africa have not paid much attention to the firm-level activities and processes which influence the path the various firms have followed and how they have been coping in changing world technological and market conditions. Thus this book seeks to examine an area in which standardized propositions and factors have not yet been identified, at least in the African context. For this reason, a case study approach has been adopted, relying principally on semi-structured interviews. With the aid of an interview guide (Chapter 13), intensive discussions were held with people who were deemed knowledgeable in the respective firms.

The case study approach has some limitations when it comes to making generalizations. Usually, case studies are generalizable to theoretical propositions rather than to populations or universes. Unlike survey research, which relies on statistical generalization, the case study approach relies on analytical generalization, in which the investigator is striving to generalize from a particular set of results to some broader theory (Yin, 1984). As has been indicated in Chapter 2, the evolutionary theory of economic and technological change has been adopted as the general theory guiding this study. The questions of the study are posed in that perspective. Generalizations from the case studies will necessarily be made with caution, realizing that the researcher is making generalizations on the basis of cases which have been selectively sampled and that inferences are being drawn from a weak or non-representative sample of cases. However, in this case we are more interested in gaining insights into the process than in producing statistically significant outcomes.

Two precautions have been taken to reduce the risks entailed in the case study approach. First, the researchers who did the country studies have track records in doing various studies on the manufacturing sectors of their respective countries. Second, taking advantage of the unique ability of the case study approach to handle a variety of evidence, the information obtained in interviews has been complemented by information from official and unofficial documents and by follow-up interviews by the principal researcher to obtain the necessary clarifications. In addition, a workshop was held in May 1993 in which selected industrialists, policy-makers, researchers and international experts in the field reviewed first drafts, and comments arising from discussions at the workshop have been incorporated in the final drafts.

In the case of Africa, the poor performance of manufactured exports may suggest that success in exporting is more of an outlier result than an average or typical situation. Even if these firms may be outliers, the approach taken in this study is that it is also important to remember that outliers can be particularly informative. As has been suggested elsewhere, information about why firms fail or achieve unusual success is more likely to come from firms at the margins than from average firms (Reid, 1987).

Sampling: firms, industries and countries

Sample firms

Two main categories of firms were studied: those which are currently exporting manufactured products to regional and/or to international markets and firms which used to export manufactures but are being, or have already been, squeezed out of export markets.

One would expect that firms in the first category would have developed relevant core capabilities over time and that these capabilities would have been developed in response to competitive pressures from the market. The firms are also expected to be organized in such a way that they can cope with changing technological and market conditions. In addition, the linkages they have with other industries and institutions are expected to be supportive. The extent to which they are striving to sustain their international competitiveness was assessed, and the strategies they are employing to cope with the changing demands of the international market were identified, in order to gain further insights into the process by which those firms are creating and developing the necessary core capabilities. An understanding of supportive or restrictive interactions with external institutions has also been sought. Firms in this category may have acquired their success in exporting in one of two ways: by attaining international competitiveness at par with other world-class firms elsewhere, or by engaging in highly idiosyncratic exports and adapting to specific recipient environments.13

The second category of firms have been (or are gradually being) out-competed by other exporters. As was noted in Chapter 2, what happens when a mature industry encounters a new technology depends on whether the new technology requires changes in the core capabilities of specific firms and whether they are able to make the required changes in management and strategy. Firms in this category were expected to have failed as exporters largely because they had not managed to adjust their core capabilities to new technological and market conditions. This study addresses these processes with a view to gaining insights into the factors which have influenced their withdrawal from the race for the export market. Such factors may be domestic (e.g. developments in the domestic market, weakening of the core capabilities of the firms, or failure to cope with the growing capabilities of competitors in the world market, thus allowing the competitive gap to widen, or restrictive interactions between the firms and other government and/or non-government institutions) or they may be external (technological changes, marketing strategies and changing demands in the international markets).

The sampled firms are currently exporting manufactured products, whether to regional or international markets. Some 55 firms in 7 industries were studied: 20 in textiles and clothing, 11 in food and beverages, 4 in leather and footwear, 2 in paper and paper products, 5 in chemicals and pharmaceuticals, 3 in non-metallic mineral products and 10 in metal industries. The sample consisted of 4 small enterprises (with fewer than 50 persons engaged), 31 medium-sized enterprises (50-1 000 persons) and 20 large enterprises (over 1 000 persons). The ownership structures include public and private, and local and foreign, enterprises. The sample included 6 public enterprises, 19 local private enterprises, 9 foreign-owned enterprises and 21 joint ventures between local and foreign capital.

Sample industries

The industries studied were those which have been exporting. In each country the best export performers were included and, to facilitate inter-country comparison, the textiles and clothing industry was studied in all countries.

Sample countries

Research was carried out in a sample of six countries which are broadly representative of African countries in terms of level of development of industry and exports. The countries selected were as follows:

1 Zimbabwe: a country with one of the most diversified industrial sectors and a number of successful exporting firms. It is the most advanced in terms of technological capabilities and industrialization in Southern Africa, except for South Africa.

2 Tanzania: a country which, in its initial development. was peripheral to Kenya but which later strove to develop an industrial

sector and manufacturing exports. It faced decline in many sectors in the late 1970s and 1980s. Since the mid-1980s Tanzania has been making attempts to implement economic policy reforms and to restructure inefficient industries.

3 Nigeria: the most industrialized country in West Africa and one having the largest internal market in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is not only a large economy (by African standards), it also benefited from the oil boom in the 1970s (although that was followed by economic problems in the 1980s).

4 Kenya: the most advanced country in industrialization, industrial exports and the development of technological capabilities in East Africa.

5 The Ivory Coast: the most advanced country in industrialization and the export of manufactured products in Francophone West Africa.

6 Mauritius: a country which seems to have made considerable strides from a basically mono-crop economy in the 1960s to a diversified economy in the 1980s. Mauritius has developed its industrial sector, and in particular manufactured exports, at a faster pace than other African economies, a kind of development that is comparable to that of some lower-tier Asian NICs.

Implementation of the study

Researchers in these countries were commissioned to perform the country studies. The researchers selected were known to have done substantial previous research on issues relating to industrialization and manufactured exports in those countries. In order to include international information on the changing technological and world market conditions, data on these aspects was collected, mainly in Europe. The following were the major sources of information:

• OECD industry studies

• UNIDO industry studies on Africa and technological developments in selected industries

• from the International Trade Centre in Geneva, data on trade, especially data from case studies of exporting industries and export promotion policies

• selected TNCs in Europe (e.g. Unilever) which have exporting subsidiaries in Africa

• associations of industrialists in Europe

• selected European importers of manufactured products from Africa

• UNCTAD, for trade statistics and trade-related studies

• the EU in Brussels, for information on joint ventures between EU-based companies and exporting companies in Africa.

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