Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI) | Four entry points for UK policy in Africa’s economic trajectory

A worker at a factory run by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Port au Prince, Haiti. Employing 20 young men from the Cite Soleil area of the city, the factory is producing transitional shelters for thousands of families who were displaced from their homes following the massive earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. Six months on, the majority of people are still living in emergency shelters - but it is hoped that projects such as this will enable many more families to be re-housed over the coming months.

Dirk Willem te Velde (Director of SET Programme, Head of IEDG and Principal Research Fellow, ODI) 24 April 2017 (based on a presentation at Chatham House 20 April 2017). This note argues that the UK can offer an appropriate support package using smart aid, targeted development finance, free trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion and temporary (legal) migration policies to help with economic transformation and job creation in Africa.


14 March 2017 | Foreign direct investment and economic transformation in Myanmar: the role of the garment sector

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On 14 March, SET hosted a workshop in Yangon to present and discuss the findings of the recent research paper, ‘Foreign direct investment and economic transformation in Myanmar’. Attendees explored questions around the role of the garment sector, including: what role does the garment sector play in promoting exports, employment and the transfer of skills in Myanmar? How does foreign investment contribute to Myanmar’s garment sector? And how can foreign investment, from China and other countries, further contribute to economic transformation in Myanmar?


Phyllis Papadavid (ODI) | How debt sale can aid Ghana’s economic transformation

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Phyllis Papadavid (Senior Research Fellow – Team Leader of International Macroeconomics, ODI)  20 April 2017 Ghana’s recent debt sale presents an opportunity The cost of, and access to, finance is important for economic transformation in developing countries’ manufacturing sectors. However, among some firms in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the costs for borrowing are significantly higher than for […]


Supporting Economic Transformation: Briefing Papers

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Margaret McMillan, John Page, David Booth and Dirk Willem te Velde, March 2017

Launched alongside Supporting Economic Transformation: An Approach Paper, these briefings summarise the central tenets of SET’s approach to the challenge of promoting economic transformation and explore its importance for driving sustainable, inclusive development in the world’s poorest countries.


Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Transformation in Myanmar

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Stephen Gelb, Linda Calabrese and Xiaoyang Tang, March 2017

The paper reviews in some detail the foreign (Chinese) presence in four sectors in Myanmar and its impact on economic transformation. Significant positive effects include employment and exports in garments, local enterprise development and downstream user costs in construction (and infrastructure), and exports, technology transfer and product market competition in agriculture and agro-processing and finally makes a number of policy recommendations for UK DFID.


Supporting Economic Transformation: An Approach Paper

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Margaret McMillan, John Page, David Booth and Dirk Willem te Velde, March 2017

This approach paper seeks to define economic transformation, offers an approach to measuring progress towards it, and examines case studies from African and Asian economies where transformative policies have been successful to greater and lesser extents. The paper concludes by presenting a multi-disciplinary approach to identifying opportunities, diagnosing constraints and mapping out realistic policy options for countries to use to turn their economic growth into genuine transformation.


Jun Hou (ODI) | The relocation of Chinese manufacturing companies in Africa

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Economic transformation often denotes a move away from low-productivity to high-productivity growth. Promoting economic transformation in the aftermath of shocks is one strategy for developing economies to build resilience to further shocks. This is particularly true for resource dependent economies, given that they are more vulnerable to shocks. Many of these countries are still managing the fallout from multiple economic shocks, including the continued effects of the commodity price downturn. Fuel exporters saw GDP growth fall from 5.7% in 2014 to -1.6% in 2016 and these countries now face the risk of external debt distress.


23 February 2017 | The UK’s financial sector and sub-Saharan Africa: partnerships for development

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On 23 February, SET, in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade and Investment, hosted a private roundtable event in the Palace of Westminster, London. The event brought together representatives of developing countries with donors, private investors and representatives of the City of London to identify opportunities for private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Amongst topics of discussion were the practical and financial challenges facing British investors seeking to finance development, including in sectors such as infrastructure, energy and manufacturing, ways to overcome barriers to the achievement of high-quality, sustainable economic transformation, and the growing role of development finance institutions.


Trade in Services and Economic Transformation: A New Development Policy Priority

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Edited by Bernard Hoekman and Dirk Willem te Velde, February 2017

Services play a vital role in economic transformation and job creation in poor countries, but the effects are different from those in agriculture or manufacturing. While much of the discussion on economic transformation centres on transforming agriculture and moving into manufacturing, services are an under-explored component of economic transformation strategies.
This set of essays analyses the role of services, and especially trade in services, in economic transformation.