Phyllis Papadavid (ODI) | Kenya needs to gear up its macroeconomy to boost its manufacturing sector

Phyllis Papadavid (Senior Research Fellow – Team Leader of International Macroeconomics, ODI) 

19 July 2018

Kenya needs to gear up its macroeconomy to boost its manufacturing sector

Kenya has a compelling story to tell when it comes to its economic diversification. The country has sizeable agriculture and services sectors, which account for a respective 32% and 45% of total value added in the economy, according to the World Bank. And, with the introduction of its Early Oil Pilot Scheme, it is also now an oil-exporting economy, drawing production from its Turkana region.

At the same time, having been identified as a priority sector under the government’s Big 4 Agenda, manufacturing, and the textiles and apparels (T&A) sub-sector in particular, could be a game-changer for economic transformation and job creation – if close attention is paid to the country’s macroeconomic environment.

The time for diversification is opportune, given the current challenging environment for resource-based economies, owing in part to the commodity price downturn since mid-2014: inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) declined from $53bn in 2016 to $41bn in 2017. For example, Nigeria’s economy in particular continued to be depressed, with FDI down 21% in 2017 relative to 2016. By contrast, the more diversified economies of East Africa have shown more resilience of late. At $3.5bn in 2017, FDI inflows in Ethiopia continue to be nearly double the level seen in 2014 (Figure 1), and the country is the second largest recipient of investment inflows in Africa, owing in part to its apparel sector.

Figure 1: FDI inflows in selected SSA economies ($mn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: UNCTAD World Investment Report Annex Tables

A conducive macroeconomic environment is key for diversification

Kenya is already the largest exporter of apparels under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), which makes the sector a key one for the future. The country has seen phenomenal growth: US imports of Kenyan apparel products increased 675% between 2000 and 2017. Exports to the US market are also crucial for the sector, given the dominance of textiles compared with other industries. Pursuing further expansion in this largely labour-intensive sector could help reduce Kenya’s youth unemployment rate, which, at 26%, is one of the highest in SSA. Such investment could also catalyse Kenya’s growth at a time when the textiles, clothing and leather sector has doubled its global share of greenfield FDI projects, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Kenya’s success in diversifying depends in part on its cultivating a conducive macroeconomic environment – and there are three important pathways to follow in this regard (in addition to paying attention to a range of other factors explained in last year’s KAM-ODI booklet):

Three pathways to boost diversification into Kenyan textiles

Complementary industries

Kenya’s information and communication technologies (ICT) sector has seen significant growth, with innovations such as M-Pesa leading its domestic financial services development. In 2017, the economy saw a 71% increase in FDI as a result of inflows into ICT. This owed in part to its investment climate and particularly the construction of Konza Technology City, which has attracted major corporations such as Microsoft and Oracle. Despite this, a digital divide persists: although almost 90% of Kenyan manufacturing firms have computers and internet, only 50% have a web presence, only 40% have an IT policy and only 27% use the internet to sell online.[1] Increased use of ICT will enable both large T&A companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in digital supply chains and function more efficiently.

Meanwhile, when it comes to investment inflows, Kenya can leverage its growing domestic retail sector, and domestic growth in consumer demand, to spur local and international investment. This could be important at a time when the return to FDI has halved in SSA, from roughly 12.3% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2017. Additionally, wages for Kenya’s garment workers are cited as much costlier than those in, for example, Ethiopia. This is notwithstanding Kenya’s labour productivity significantly outstripping Ethiopia’s, when looking at the experience of Hela Garment factories in both countries. Expected retail demand growth could mean that Kenya attracts market-seeking FDI, to serve the domestic market, which would offset any weakness in FDI that targets cheap inputs.

Finally, Kenya’s logistics sector, in transporting and warehousing goods, stands to benefit its T&A sector. In particular, upgrading its railway and transport sector closer to international standards will facilitate greater commerce; Kenya’s logistics ‘giant’, Siginon Group, cites this as an obstacle. Together with Kenya’s industrial and technology parks, this will continue to contribute to Kenya becoming a ‘logistics hub’ and creating more logistics companies through clustering. The emergent knowledge economy will have knock-on effects on T&A, as a result of better support to knowledge uptake by Kenya’s industry. This should be founded on wider partnerships, to include universities. The experience of other success stories suggests that successful economic clustering depends on – among other things – the inclusion of research institutes for enhanced innovation and sophistication of local companies.

A reduction in the shilling’s real effective exchange rate

Kenya does not fare well in terms of currency developments. Having a fairly priced trade-weighted exchange rate is important to source affordable imports – which Kenya’s T&A manufacturers have consistently cited as a key cost. In particular, for the larger companies, the high cost of imported material is significant. Although the shilling continues to depreciate against the US dollar – a key export market for Kenya – the real effective exchange rate (REER) is historically high, raising questions around Kenya’s competitiveness. Its REER has appreciated by 27% since 2014, putting it roughly 34% above its long-term average and suggesting overvaluation against its trading partners’ currencies (Figure 2).[2]

Figure 2: Kenyan shilling real effective exchange rate

 

 

 

 

 

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators, Bloomberg.

Broader access to finance

Elevated overhead costs in the sector and lack of collateral have also restrained access to finance. High interest rates and the short time horizons available for loans are key obstacles, according to KAM. Equally, Kenya’s current interest rate cap has disincentivised banks to lend to SMEs and to small manufacturers, in that they cannot obtain a high enough return to match perceived risk associated with SMEs. The Central Bank of Kenya reports that banks reduced credit provision to the private sector following the cap, with few expectations of a re-acceleration. A silver lining is that domestic banks, rather than foreign banks, are increasingly driving SME lending.

Targeted programmes, such as those of Equity Bank, instituting the Maridadi Business credit facility of between Sh5,000 and Sh100mn for Kenya’s T&A SMEs, fashion designers and tailors, have been encouraging. The facility’s aim of targeting businesses and entrepreneurs along the entire value chain has been lauded as a particularly strong feature, given Kenya’s need to import fabrics. The higher risk profile of smaller SMEs has led other domestic banks to pair with public institutions, such as the International Finance Corporation, to lend to SMEs. Kenya’s second largest bank – the Co-op Bank – has received a $105mn loan for Kenya’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Kenya’s macroeconomic challenges and opportunities need to be squared with the government’s ambitious plans in its Big 4 Agenda – which include employing 50,000 young adults and women in the T&A sector, increasing revenue exponentially from the textile industry from Sh3.5bn to Sh2tr and creating 500,000 cotton jobs and 100,000 new clothes jobs by 2022. In order to achieve this, the domestic macroeconomic environment will have to be recalibrated to foster increased competitiveness, more affordable access to finance and continued attention to incentivising diversified investment inflows.

[1] Banga, K. and te Velde, D.W. (2018) ‘Digitalisation and the future of manufacturing in Africa’. London: ODI, SET Programme.

[2] Kenyan REER overvaluation is calculated as the percentage deviation of the current REER from its average since 2000. The REER is calculated using the World Bank World Development Indicator database and Bloomberg data.

 

 

Photo credit: Brian Snelson via Flickr

Recent Progress Towards Industrialisation in Tanzania

Professor Amon Mbelle and Hafidh Kabanda (Economic and Social Research Foundation), July 2018

Tanzania has set an ambitious industrialisation agenda in pursuit of the goals articulated in the TDV 2025. The observed status and performance of industry is partly a consequence of past policies, plans and strategies. The FYDP II and its accompanying Implementation Strategy have revitalised the industrialisation agenda by articulating concrete interventions. This briefing provides an update on recent industrialisation progress in Tanzania, with a particular focus on the status of the manufacturing sector.

Professor Amon Mbelle and Hafidh Kabanda (Economic and Social Research Foundation), July 2018

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Tanzania has set an ambitious industrialisation agenda in pursuit of the goals articulated in the TDV 2025. The observed status and performance of industry is partly a consequence of past policies, plans and strategies. The FYDP II and its accompanying Implementation Strategy have revitalised the industrialisation agenda by articulating concrete interventions. This briefing provides an update on recent industrialisation progress in Tanzania, with a particular focus on the status of the manufacturing sector. It draws on recent statistics for relevant industrialisation indicators, using both national and international data.

This briefing is part of a series produced by SET in collaboration with the Tanzania Economic & Social Research Foundation (ESRF). The first three briefings are:

1)  A summary of FYDP II

2) A summary of FYDP II implementation strategy including actions and financing, and progress so far

3) A briefing linking FYDP II and the implementation strategies to other important actors (including donors/private sector).

This briefing was prepared by Professor Amon Mbelle and Hafidh Kabanda (ESRF) with input from Neil Balchin and Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI).

Photo credit: SET Programme, Overseas Development Institute ©

Manufacturing in Africa: Factors for Success

Neil Balchin, Karishma Banga , Sonia Hoque and Dirk Willem te Velde, June 2018

Many African countries have a desire to industrialise, as witnessed in national and regional policy statements. Significant progress is being made in selected countries (e.g. real manufacturing value added grew at around or more than 7% annually over 2005–2015 in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania). However, without a greater practical focus on implementing a consistent strategy to promote manufacturing, many African countries will miss the significant opportunities presented by their comparative and natural advantages, rising wages in Asia and growing regional markets.

Neil Balchin, Karishma Banga Sonia Hoque and Dirk Willem te Velde, June 2018

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This paper was launched at the ACET Manufacturing Chapter third working session. More information on the Chapter, including previous sessions, can be viewed here.

Moving labour out of low-productivity agriculture and into higher-productivity manufacturing is crucial for structural change in Africa. Expanding manufacturing production and exports, and increasing their sophistication, can drive industrialisation and create much-needed jobs. Indeed, export-led manufacturing is the only proven model to drive economic transformation and boost employment. This is evident in the experiences of many Asian countries, which show that export-intensive manufacturing can generate significant numbers of jobs. Countries such as Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Vietnam have developed light manufacturing – by building textiles and garment industries – to kick-start industrialisation.

Many African countries have a desire to industrialise, as witnessed in national and regional policy statements. Significant progress is being made in selected countries (e.g. real manufacturing value added grew at around or more than 7% annually over 2005–2015 in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania). However, without a greater practical focus on implementing a consistent strategy to promote manufacturing, many African countries will miss the significant opportunities presented by their comparative and natural advantages, rising wages in Asia and growing regional markets.

This paper discusses key characteristics of a good industrial policy regime and factors behind effective implementation. It also uncovers a range of successes. Using country examples, we recognise that, while there are broad commonalities, the specifics will always vary across different contexts.

Photo credit: Factory workers producing fruit drinks at Blue Skies, in Accra, Ghana on October 13, 2015. Dominic Chavez/World Bank via Flickr

20 June 2018 | ACET African Transformation Forum: Manufacturing Chapter Session

 

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SET has been working closely with the African Center for Economic Tranformation (ACET) since the first African Transformation Forum (ATF) in 2016.

ACET, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, will host the second ATF on June 20-21 2018. The ATF is a unique, policy-focused event that will bring together leading experts and practitioners to share perspectives on how to accelerate job growth, boost investment, and implement transformation policies.

As part of an ongoing collaboration as knowledge partners, SET will host the third session of the Manufacturing Chapter. The aim of the Chapter, which was  launched in June 2017, followed by a working session in December 2017, is to drive continuous conversation for African leaders to shape their countries’ industrialisation issues in the context of Africa’s transformation agenda.

The objective of this third session will be share experiences over the last year around the factors for success in African manufacturing. Country representatives from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda, plus others will share their successes, their challnges and their plans for the future. Industry experts and senior officials from key government ministries, departments and agencies from selected African countries, development partners, civil society organizations, academia and the media will be invited to participate.

Agenda

10:15 – 10:30 Welcome

Hon. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay: Deputy Minister (Industry) Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana

10:30 – 10:45 Summary of PACT Chapter Progress

Buddy Buruku, ACET

This session will provide the summary of activities of the light manufacturing chapter of PACT since its inception.

10:45 – 13:00 Moderated Q&A

Moderator: Dr. Dirk Willem te Velde, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

This session will focus on knowledge sharing around the core areas deemed pivotal to unlocking light manufacturing in Africa. Discussion will focus on how to get the basics of industrialization right and how to mount an effective export push, among other topics. This session will provide an opportunity to hear from country representatives on how they are addressing various issues, specifically highlighting what has and hasn’t worked well. The session will include Q&A with participants.

13:00 – 14:00   Lunch

14:00 – 15:00  Panel On Key Issues in Manufacturing

Moderator: Tony Oteng Gyasi – Managing Director, Tropical Cables and Conductors

Panelists:

  • Hanna Zemichael, Chief of Staff, Ethiopia Investment Commission
  • Alphonse Kwizera, Director, Rwanda Association of Manufacturers
  • Gituro Wainana, Former Head of Kenya’s Vision 2030

This session will feature stakeholders from various sectors who will respond to the issues raised in the morning discussion based on their own perspectives.  The objective is to bring in the view point of private sector, development partners, and CSO/think tank, etc. on the central challenges and opportunities highlighted by policy makers from various countries. The session will include Q&A with participants.

15:00 – 15:45  Presentation and discussion on Future of Industrialization and Job Creation

DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION – DIGITALISATION IN AFRICA

Presenter: Karishma Banga – Senior Research Officer, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

This session will explore key new issues related to job creation and the future of industrialization. African countries need to create 15 million additional jobs each year until 2030 (or 40,000 each day) in order to keep up with demographic challenges, yet the manufacturing sector has so far not met these needs. It is critical that countries consider the changing nature of work and where job creation opportunities are most likely to present themselves given the global shift toward digitization and automation (i.e. the 4th Industrial revolution). Policy makers, private sector, development partners and research institutions, etc. will discuss their role in transforming the manufacturing space. The session will include Q&A with participants.

15:45- 16:00  Coffee break

16:00 – 17:15   PACT Consensus and way forward

Dr. Dirk Willem te Velde

Nigel Gwynne-Evans, Chief Director African Industrial Development, The Department of Trade and Industry South Africa

This session will synthesize the key issues discussed throughout the day, including distilling the key issues to be addressed in the sector for there to be measurable progress in the short- to medium-term. The objective is for the participants to come to a broad consensus on what the PACT chapter will focus on going forward and which activities it will aim to prioritize. These will be reported back to all ATF2018 participants at the plenary on Day 2.

Background materials

This session will be held at 10 am GMT on 20 June 2018. You can download reports of session one and two here:

DOWNLOAD: Manufacturing Chapter Launch – 5 June 2017

DOWNLOAD: Manufacturing Chapter Working Session One – 11 Dec 2017

DOWNLOAD: Manufacturing Chapter Working Session Two – 20 June 2018

DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION: DIGITALISATION IN AFRICA

Neil Balchin (ODI) | Making Firms Work Series | Midal and clustering around megaprojects in Mozambique

Neil Balchin (Research Fellow, ODI)

11 June 2018

This blog is part of our ‘Making Firms Work’ series. Read other blogs in the series: on Tanzanian textile manufacturer A to Z, Nepali ICT firm CloudFactory and Kenyan garment firm Hela.

The presence of Midal shows that clustering around megaprojects can help build manufacturing in Mozambique, but very specific factors – including, in this case, Mozal’s decision to sell molten aluminium locally – can play a key role in determining success. Examples such as Midal, with its direct linkages to Mozal (the largest company in Mozambique and one of the country’s most prominent megaprojects), show how megaprojects can support economic transformation and job creation in Mozambique. Transforming the economy will be critical for Mozambique to address short-term macroeconomic challenges and create much-needed jobs in a sustainable way.

The product of an initial $65 million investment, Midal Cables International Limited is a local subsidiary of Midal Cables Limited, a multinational headquartered in Bahrain with a production footprint spanning Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Australia (and now Mozambique). After signing a deal with Mozal in 2013, Midal commenced production in Mozambique in December 2014 and began exporting in January 2015. The company’s 14,500 m2 plant is situated adjacent to Mozal in Beluluane Industrial Park, a duty-free zone in Matola, about 25 km north-west of downtown Maputo.

Midal produces aluminium rods, wire and conductors primarily for export to Europe (Spain and Italy) and Africa (including Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania). The company’s current annual total production capacity is in the order of 50,000 metric tonnes. Around 98% of this is exported, with only a small volume going to the domestic market. On average, Midal produces 4,200 metric tonnes of aluminium rods each year, mostly for export to Africa and Europe. The wires and conductors the firm produces are primarily exported to other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to support electricity transmission and distribution, with a strong focus on rural electrification.

Midal’s presence is important for economic transformation in Mozambique. It is the first firm operating in the country to add value to the aluminium produced by the Mozal smelter and represents an important step towards higher value-added industrial production. Examples such as this show how private firms can support economic transformation; and in some sectors these contributions can be enhanced through effective public–private collaboration.

More of this is needed to help spur diversification into higher-productivity industrial activity and manufacturing. Despite strong growth of 5–7% annually over the past decade, little progress has been made in altering the structure of the economy and accelerating job creation. Manufacturing still has a peripheral role in the economy, absorbing just 0.6% of the labour force and accounting for less than 10% of total gross value added (down from 29.7% in 1975).

A recent survey shows that, while there are some positive signs of the persistence of Mozambican manufacturing firms, growth among these firms has been limited and some have shrunk over the past five years (particularly those operating in the textiles, wood, metal, machinery, furniture and other manufacturing sectors). Many manufacturers have closed in the face of an increasingly challenging business climate aggravated by political conflict and a subsequent economic crisis. A significant share of the remaining firms are unprofitable, particularly in Tete and Nampula provinces. Very few Mozambican manufacturers are exporting – just 19 out of 520 firms (or less than 4%) surveyed in 2017. Job losses have also been significant, with more than 5,000 shed across the surveyed companies between 2009 and 2017.

Even amid this turmoil, Midal has managed to grow a manufacturing base and create jobs. The firm currently employs 142 people directly in Mozambique, and it is estimated to generate employment indirectly for more than 1,000 people as service contractors. Creating more jobs is critically important given that Mozambique faces a looming jobs crisis and an ongoing debt crisis. Approximately 420,000 young people enter the labour market each year and formal employment needs to grow substantially if they are to be absorbed into jobs. Generating new employment on this scale will require a different focus towards economic transformation. SET’s Making Firms Work series showcases firms that are generating large-scale transformational jobs in Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal.

Midal, with its linkages to Mozal, offers a model for manufacturing development that can potentially be upscaled and replicated, but it is important to understand the details behind these inter-firm relationships.

A set of four specific circumstances encouraged Midal to establish operations in Mozambique. First, geographical proximity to Mozal’s aluminium smelter – the largest of its kind in Africa – promised ready access to a key input: good quality molten aluminium.

Second, the Midal Group was attracted by strong regional growth in Africa. Locating in Mozambique provided further advantages in terms of supplying major electricity transmission projects within the country and elsewhere across the SADC.

Third, the prospect of exporting duty-free to certain African countries as well as the US (under the African Growth and Opportunity Act) and the EU (through the Everything But Arms initiative) provided further motivation.

Finally, Mozambique also offered electricity and gas (although the reliability of the supply remains an issue), an important factor given the firm’s energy-intensive production processes.

However, since Midal began operations, other aspects of the business environment have proven problematic. Midal believed that proximity and access to Maputo Port would mean it would be able to export cheaply. However, the firm’s initial cost assumptions were overly optimistic and logistics costs associated with the use of Maputo Port remain very high. These costs are said to surge to $800 per container once customs and other expenses have been factored in. The alternative option, using the port in Durban, is equally costly owing to the need to transport products over more than 600 km to get to the port.

Despite these challenges, Midal’s presence in Mozambique is a compelling example of what can be done to grow the country’s manufacturing base. It shows how clustering around megaprojects can help develop local linkages and downstream activity as long as specific business and pricing factors are supportive. This suggests an important role for government, not least in setting up a conducive framework for megaprojects and for locally based upstream or downstream firms to interact effectively with such megaprojects.

 

This blog has been adapted from a previous version.

Photo credit: Midal cables

 

Sonia Hoque (ODI) | Women and economic transformation: It’s a win-win if #SheTransforms

Sonia Hoque  (Programme & Operations Manager, ODI)

7 June 2018

It’s no secret that women are key to unlocking the full potential of economies across the developing world. They are not a ‘marginalised group’ (they make up half of the population), but nor should it be assumed they benefit evenly from increased opportunities through economic transformation. Women spend more on their children’s health and education, and bring numerous benefits to employers and business owners. Proposed policies/programmes designed to drive economic transformation should embed a gender lens to enhance women’s access to new jobs and ensure they are not left behind.

Why women are key to economic transformation

Advancing women’s equality could add an estimated $28 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2025, and numerous studies have shown that increasing the numbers of women participating in the labour force has a positive impact on business owners as well as women themselves. For this reason, women’s economic empowerment has always been at the forefront of development debates. For example, the recent SheTrades initiative, led by the International Trade Centre, seeks to connect women entrepreneurs to markets. Women could also contribute to, and benefit from, economic transformation, which occurs when resources (including human resources) shift to more productive uses, which improves the quality of growth and helps sustain job creation.

Discussions on ‘inclusive transformation’ look at the impact of such transformation on women, youth, disabled persons, minority groups, etc. However, women should not be seen just as a marginalised group that needs to be targeted in economic transformation planning simply because of moral drivers (a desire to provide equal opportunities to and empower such groups). Including women makes economic sense. Efforts to increase their participation in the labour force are paying off across some developing countries, and increasing the number of women employees has proved highly productive (think of Bangladesh garments, where approximately 60% of the 3.5m workers are female). Designing policies that support and/or better enable women to take the opportunities brought about by economic transformation is crucial for continued growth, prosperity and broad-based job creation.

Will women get lost in economic transformation?

In a 2016 SET paper, Louise Fox (now USAID’s Chief Economist) explored important questions about the role of gender in economic transformation, emphasising that economic change always brings winners and losers. Economic transformation is defined as the process where resources, including labour, shift from low-productivity activities such as agriculture to higher-productivity ones such as manufacturing and services (productivity improvements within sectors are also counted). Importantly, evidence suggests that, where women can access productive jobs, wage employment in modern enterprises provides higher and more secure income. Louise Fox explores which sectors benefit women’s economic opportunities, and argues the need for complementary policies to increase equality of opportunities when they arise – as it cannot be assumed women will benefit the same way as men.

Increasing the role of women in manufacturing and services sector jobs: a change of mindset

Policies can help bring women into wage employment but some barriers are hard to dismantle. For example, expectations that women will be the primary carers for children, the elderly and the home are still prevalent in many low-income countries. Pressure to stick to traditional roles in what is called the ‘care economy’ mean that women tend to have fewer hours available for waged work. This was also apparent during interviews for a previous SET study on inclusive jobs in Nepal; several (male) firm owners stated that women ‘preferred’ to do care and housework and did not want/have time to work outside.

However, one tourism firm shared a different view: ‘Around 50% of our staff are female. Although they are usually not skilled when they start working here, they are more focused and hard-working.’ This was echoed by the director of A to Z, a major factory in Tanzania that produces light manufacturing goods including garments, household plastics and bednets: ‘We have found that female workers produce higher quality outputs. Their work ethic is better, and they work more efficiently. They are also better at training new people working in the factories.’ This touches on an important finding in a study led by Christopher Woodruff – that training women had supported them to develop managerial skills and increased their chances of promotion in garment factories in Bangladesh.

Studies have shown that increases in income controlled by women lead to greater spending on items that bring more benefits to children. Women invest more in children’s human capital, which has dynamic positive effects on economic growth and future employment prospects. A to Z also supports mothers in particular, as they encourage generations of families working in the factory and see their children as potentially loyal future employees. ‘We like to see families working in the factories and give extra benefits to them for their loyalty, so having mothers working here is a good thing. We also see that those women spend more of their income on their children.

#SheTransforms – Aadila in Tanzania

Aadila grew up on her father’s farm in a rural district near Arusha, Tanzania. With little education beyond primary school level, she had few prospects for work and spent her adolescent years working on the farm with her family.

When local factory A to Z advertised that they were hiring workers in a range of roles, she took the chance to apply. Given her lack of formal education or other skills, she was offered the role of cleaner. With hard work, she worked her way up through a number of roles within A to Z factories, including sewing machine operator, stitcher and office administrator. She is now working in the factory head office in a garment merchandise role, earning 10 times as much as when she was a cleaner and comfortably supporting her family with the additional income.

Although this is an exceptional story, Aadila is not alone as a woman to have gained economic benefits from taking an opportunity to work in a factory. A to Z state that around 90% of their female workers come from rural backgrounds, and embody not only the real-life economic transformation process as they move to more productive employment but also the ability to transform their lives as Aadila has done.

Source: Author interview with A to Z

A to Z is a manufacturing firm with a clear social responsibility approach, but women working in manufacturing firms in other contexts also have spillovers. Heath and Mobarak (2014) examined the Bangladesh garment industry and found spillover benefits to women’s villages – an increase in the age of marriage and first childbirth, health gains and education levels of children.

It’s a win-win if #SheTransfoms

By acknowledging the potential gains at both the individual and the wider societal level that women bring by participating in the labour force, policy-makers have the chance to bring new opportunities to women. While it does not make sense for governments to target industries for development based on whether they tend to employ males or females, policy-makers can ensure programmes and investments are gender-sensitive. This includes making sure females have access to the education and training opportunities needed to compete for new opportunities. Having more women in the marketplace has a positive impact on businesses, which benefit from a larger productive workforce, more competition and, as a result, more choices between better products in all sectors. As mentioned, women spend more of their income on education and health for their children, which can be beneficial for society in the long term. Policy-makers and development partners with the goal of economic transformation should not assume women will benefit evenly from increased opportunities, or see them as a marginalised group. Rather, they are a key force, and any proposed policies/programmes designed to drive economic transformation should contain a gender lens – the cost of not doing so will undoubtedly be higher in the long term.

Sonia Hoque is the Programme & Operations Manager of the Supporting Economic Transformation programme at ODI.

Photo credit: Visual News Associates / World Bank via Flickr

 

 

Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI) | Making Firms Work Series | Kenya’s window of opportunity in manufacturing is open: Hela garments

This blog is part of our ‘Making Firms Work’ series. Read other blogs in the series: on textile manufacturer A to Z and Nepalese ICT firm CloudFactory.

Dirk Willem te Velde (SET Programme Director, ODI)

10 April 2018

Over the past two decades, many low-income countries have faced major challenges in developing their manufacturing sector. In much of Africa, the share of the sector in gross domestic product has declined or barely changed in the past two decades (although there are also some examples of success, and in absolute terms manufacturing production doubled in a decade). The value of preferential market access has been under erosion, and jobless industrialisation is increasingly a reality.

However, UK-owned Hela Clothing located in the Athi River Export Processing Zone (EPZ) (close to Nairobi) shows us that it is still possible to establish a major labour-intensive factory in Kenya. They have exported $40 million (equivalent to around 10% of Kenya’s garments exports) within one year and have already created 4,000 jobs directly. We ask- what are the factors behind this success, what the current challenges are and what lies ahead?

Hela in Kenya: Beyond low labour costs and preferential market access

UK-owned firm Hela Clothing is headquartered in Sri Lanka with an annual turnover of $250 million. With demand outstripping the production capacity of their facilities in Sri Lanka and factories upgrading in Sri Lanka, Hela decided to set up subsidiaries in Mexico (to be physically close to the US, where many buyers are located), and also in Ethiopia and Kenya, to benefit from the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) whilst using labour that is cheaper than in Sri Lanka.

In Kenya, the factory was set up inside a ready-made shed. It has grown remarkably fast, reaching a turnover of around $40 million over the past year. It is likely to meet close to $60 million in the coming year. To keep up with this growth, the factory needs to double its workforce to 8,000. In comparison, the factory in Ethiopia has a turnover of $2 million and employs fewer than 1,000 workers – even though wages are much lower in Ethiopia.

The factory in Athi River is about much more than using low labour costs in the context of preferential market access in the US. Even though wages in the Kenyan subsidiary (somewhat less than $150 a month) are more than double those in Hela’s Ethiopian subsidiary in Hawassa (a little over $50 a month), labour productivity in Kenya is also much higher (efficiency is even higher than in Sri Lanka), product variety is greater and absenteeism is lower, as are ancillary staff-related costs.

In addition, the Athi River factory offers meals for its workers, a crèche for young children of the workers and a development programme for local managers. The number of expats has decreased from 60 to 40 (currently around 1% of staff) since operations started. Hela is regarded as a showcase firm in the Athi River EPZ (opened by Kenya’s cabinet secretary) and works with UK-funded programmes. The firm has also built up excellent relationships with its clients, striking deals with world-class buyers in the US such as PVH, which includes the brands Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Speedo, and Vanity Fair.

Challenges for labour-intensive manufacturing as the window of opportunity closes

The example of Hela Clothing is all the more remarkable given that two factors exist that are likely to make it more challenging to embark on labour- and export-intensive industrialisation strategies in the future.

First, the value of preferential access will be eroded. AGOA (under which most of Hela’s garments are exported) is a US unilateral scheme that is expected to run only until 2026. Multilateral trade liberalisation is further reducing the value of the preferences Kenya enjoys, (though all countries may face a protectionist backlash in the future).

Second, recent SET research shows that the digital economy will begin to affect African manufacturing directly or indirectly. Digitalisation, automation, 3D printing and robots will change the nature of production in developed and developing countries. Robots can now undertake some tasks, and responses to rising wages in countries such as China include automation, not just relocation of manufacturing production to low-income countries. At present, capital costs required to invest heavily in digital technology are relatively high compared with labour costs, but this may not continue beyond a further 15 years for some tasks in certain sectors. Some of the automated cutting machines in the AtoZ factory in Arusha already look more modern than the cutting procedures in the Hela firm.

This suggests it is crucial for Kenya to build up industrial capabilities in the coming decade, while it still can. The existence of readily available labour and trade preferences needs to be complemented by high-quality but cheap access to energy, more and better developed economic zones and low transport costs. In addition, developing quality services (e.g. insurance, accounting, logistics) to support Kenya’s manufacturing hub, is critical.

Lessons learned and ways forward

Given its excellent client relationships and building of social capital with key sourcing companies such as PVH, Hela is looking to expand. For example, Vanity Fair (whose orders are currently responsible for just a few production lines in the factory) would like Hela to create a separate factory with a bigger crèche.

Making firms work well requires actively helping to solve problems that individual investors face. For example, a general expansion of production requires finance. Public and private actors will need to work together to fill the finance gap. So far, commercial banks in African countries have shown little understanding of ways to finance the garment industry (e.g. through letters of credit) – we can compare with this the facilitator role played by banks in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and in Asian garments more generally. The government of Kenya has begun to focus on this, but in the meantime there is an opportunity for development finance institutions (DFIs) such as CDC, Proparco and DEG to provide tailored access to capital. DFIs could set up an East African industrial fund for this purpose.

The relationship between Hela and public agencies is encouraging, suggesting foreign investors with patience and diligence to develop strong networks can expect a return. The firm worked with the Export Zones Processing Authority on importing and exporting licensing, and with the Government of Kenya to obtain affordable access to electricity. Hela is also working with willing partners such as the UK Government (both the Trade and Development Departments) and donor-funded agencies, such as TradeMark East Africa. Together they are working with Hela as an industry-lead to support the Government of Kenya in policy development, reducing trade costs, and identifying new manufacturing locations. For example, a combination of hard and soft infrastructure improvements to Mombasa port are making the area more attractive for export-intensive manufacturing firms.

The UK’s support for Hela and tackling constraints it faces is a good example of the UK’s new trade and investment for development offer. Beyond thinking about the trade, investment, migration and other non-aid policies described in a previous SET blog, UK support is at the centre of the overlapping circles between developing country objectives (developing the manufacturing sector is currently a core priority of Kenya’s president) and UK foreign, and commercial, interests. Working with firms to support peer learning to magnify the results across a sector is also an important way of working which has come out of major DFID-funded research programmes such as DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme, PEDL, IZA and Tilburg University.

Fostering clusters through development of EPZs and SEZs at appropriate locations could help to increase the impact on Kenya. Hela estimates it imports around 60% (e.g. fabrics) of its turnover, mainly through Mombasa port (although some fabrics may soon come from Arusha), and exports close to 100% of its products, indicating that 60% of Kenya’s export revenues actually go to other countries. Trade costs are therefore an important factor, and the firm is currently searching for additional factory locations around Mombasa so it can reduce these further. The company adds 40% of the value through cutting, stitching, embroidery, washing, putting on buttons, labelling and packaging. Some of its imported products (e.g. belts for Speedo swimming trunks) and services (e.g. business services) could be generated in factories or service providers that could set up in the same zone as Hela, fostering clustering and agglomeration effects. Country-wide, Athi River and Mombasa are not the only possible locations for such clusters. Recently, a Dubai-based firm said it plans to build a garments factory employing 10,000 jobs in Naivasha using locally available geothermal energy. Local firms could supply to and learn from lead firms, thereby increasing value addition in Kenya.

Despite the challenges, firms like Hela Clothing and AtoZ (see the first SET Making Firms Work blog) show that productive, socially responsible, competitive manufacturing firms can thrive and create thousands of jobs in African countries. More firms such as these are needed to take advantage of the window of opportunity that still exists in African manufacturing. In addition to highlighting the challenges of job creation in manufacturing in the future (and helping prepare for a services and digital economy), all actors need to rally behind Kenya’s recently launched Big Four Agenda, which includes an emphasis on manufacturing. Together with the Kenyan Association of Manufactures we developed a 10-point plan to increase the share of manufacturing in GDP from 10% currently, to 15% in five years, and double manufacturing employment. There is also an opportunity for donors to support such efforts, including by developing UK’s post-Brexit trade and investment for development offer in developing countries. Elsewhere, we have estimated that East Africa needs to create 7,000 additional jobs each day until 2030 simply to keep up with demographic developments. That is one Hela each day!

 

Photo credit: Adan Mohamed via Kenyatalk

Stephen Gelb (ODI) | Five priorities to tackle the 7,000 jobs a day challenge in East Africa

Stephen Gelb (Principal Research Fellow – Team Leader, private sector development, ODI)

6 April 2018

Seven thousand new jobs a day for fifteen years!!

This is the daunting challenge East Africa faces if it is to meet the need for work for its young, fast-growing population. In the six countries of the East African Community (EAC) – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – an estimated 3.9 million people will be added to the working-age population between 2015 and 2030. This means that 2.6 million jobs must be created in that time. That’s 7000 per day across the region. That number of jobs can’t and won’t be created unless the goods these new workers produce can be sold. And this in turn needs dramatically expanded markets – especially through the creation of a single market across all of East Africa.

SET has assisted the East African Business Council (EABC) – the apex body of business associations in the region – to highlight five policy priorities for governments in the region to boost trade and investment within the EAC and so help meet this jobs challenge. We produced a joint brochure at the EABC’s High Level Conference held in Nairobi on 23 March 2018, to mark the organisation’s 20th anniversary.

The five priorities we identified are as follows:

  • Eliminate non-tariff barriers (NTBs) especially to reduce delays (e.g. at border posts and weighing stations) and to lower the costs of transporting goods within the region. ODI research shows transport and logistics barriers cost between 1.7% and 2.8% of gross domestic product in East Africa.
  • Reform the EAC’s common external tariff (CET) to support industrialisation, especially by ensuring tariffs are levied appropriately through correctly classifying intermediate inputs for production, rather than as final products.
  • Improve regional infrastructure in transport and energy to lower costs and improve quality, supporting profitability for goods producers. Improvements at Mombasa port show what is possible.
  • Liberalise services trade within the EAC to lower business services costs to business users, which has been shown to increase their efficiency.
  • Promote local (intra-EAC) sourcing of productive inputs, to expand markets and encourage investment.

Above: Lilian Awinja and Dr Stephen Gelb

In her report to the event, EABC Executive Director Lilian Awinja discussed progress on the five priorities. There has been improvement on removing NTBs, she said, through better harmonisation of standards, lowered border-crossing times and costs and cooperation by tax authorities. But on CET reform and services trade liberalisation, progress has been much slower. Ms Awinja called for stepped-up dialogue between the private sector and governments.

And on local sourcing, the one priority that businesses can actively implement in their own operations, she endorsed the ban on second-hand clothing imports agreed to (at least initially) by all six regional governments, and issued a call for Fridays to become ‘Wear East Africa’ day, to promote the region’s garment industry. She herself was resplendent in an outfit made from indigenous fabric, as were almost all the women present – a majority in the crowded room at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

She was speaking alongside the event’s opening panel: six men, all wearing Western suits and ties, whom she instructed to immediately purchase a locally made shirt from one of the many market stalls just outside. We weren’t able to discover how many of the men obeyed her call. But Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Ugandan Prime Minister, who was on the panel, quickly endorsed the idea, saying that President Museveni wanted people to ‘wear East African’ every day, not only on Fridays. The idea of ‘indigenous Friday’ – a step beyond ‘casual Friday’ – felt like something that could just catch on. Of course, local sourcing needs to go beyond the clothing industry to support rapid industrialisation in the region, but ‘indigenous Friday’ may be a start.

Other speakers at the High Level Conference also underlined the five priorities, with addressing NTBs and improving infrastructure probably receiving the most mentions. In her remarks, Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, discussed trade facilitation, but underlined that, to put the ‘wealth’ back into ‘commonwealth’, developing ‘human capital’, particularly women, was critical. This linked in interesting ways to another speaker’s comment about the benefits of intra-African trade by means of informal cross-border exchange, much of it by women traders of course.

Above: Patricia Scotland presenting at EABC 23 March Anniversary 

The ground-breaking meeting in Rwanda just two days earlier, at which 47 African countries signed the Kigali Declaration launching the African Consolidated Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), loomed large over the EABC celebration. Most speakers underlined the opportunities the pan-African market of a billion people offers to accelerate economic integration and increase trade and investment flows within Africa. Prime Minister Rugunda suggested the AfCFTA could renew – in a modern way – an earlier tradition whereby Africans exchanged gifts as neighbours; now they would be helping each other compete with the world in African markets and beyond.

But, as so often in African integration matters, speakers also worried about the gap between ‘talking the talk’ and ‘walking the walk’, and Prime Minister Rugunda enjoined both political and business leaders to live up to commitments signed at multilateral meetings. Many speakers, including Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary (Minister) of the Kenyan Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, and Manu Chandaria, one of Kenya’s most prominent business figures, appealed to businesses to end the practice of privately lobbying their own governments for exemptions from policies that businesses had collectively agreed at regional or continental level. Suggesting this was a major reason for the persistence of NTBs, they both argued passionately for solidarity and for promoting the public interest over that of individual businesses. The same level of passion is needed if the region is to meet its 7,000 jobs a day challenge.

Max Mendez-Parra (ODI) | The African Continental Free Trade Area and economic transformation

Max Mendez-Parra  (Senior Research Fellow, ODI)

22 March 2018

African leaders gathered this week in Kigali to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This is a key step in African efforts to eliminate barriers to trade among countries of the continent and will provide the foundations for smarter and deeper continental integration and implementation of the AU 2063 agenda.

Africa has followed a long road in its endeavours to promote regional integration, with mixed success. For example, the East African Community now constitutes the most successful model of integration on the continent, but other regional economic communities (RECs) have experienced more nuanced outcomes – and the EAC also had its challenges in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between African groups of countries and the EU have been a challenge to the African regional integration process, as EPAs cut across Africa and African regions.

The road to full implementation of the AfCTFA will be very long. Stage 1 of the negotiations seeks to establish a free trade area within Africa by liberalising nearly 90% of the goods within the continent. For some countries (e.g. Nigeria), reaching such a level of liberalisation constitutes a major effort. The agreement includes a services chapter, aimed at liberalising continental trade in services. This stage of the agreement will enter into force once 15 countries ratify it. It is unclear how long this process may take.

The second stage of the negotiations will aim to address deep integration issues such as investment and competition policies. Later on, there will be the possibility of forming a customs union, but at the moment a decision on this is not possible.

The AfCFTA is set within the aim of the AU and its member states to transform the economic structure of African countries and increase intra-African trade. Economic transformation and the creation of jobs is the most important economic development need in Africa today. Trade and trade facilitation is a key component of economic transformation strategies. Within economic transformation, the development and improvement of the manufacturing sector remains key, and trade can contribute to it. The AfCFTA could contribute to this goal by promoting regional value chains making use of expanded market access in the region.

The AfCFTA should be the basis for a wider and more comprehensive integration strategy. The AfCFTA is likely to be expanded to include additional trade and other cooperation provisions. In particular, the AfCFTA should be used to boost investment in the region to promote infrastructure development and, more importantly, the development of private sector capabilities. Such investment (as in the case of trade) should not be limited to intra-African opportunities; there should also be an effort to bring in capitals and capabilities from the rest of the world.

The AfCFTA on its own is not sufficient to guarantee the transformation process; two complementary factors are also crucial. First, African countries need to improve physical and digital connections among themselves. Without soft and hard infrastructure connecting African countries physically (and virtually), the AfCFTA will not be enough to generate needed trade.

Second, it is unlikely that the AfCFTA at this stage will generate substantial and effective market liberalisation immediately, as much of this has already been achieved through the multiple RECs. It may bring down existing high tariffs between countries that, given distance and lack of connectivity, will not trade even under low tariffs.

Third, Africa needs a substantive boost of investment in its productive capacities that the AfCFTA per se is not expected to bring. African countries need to develop their productive capacities to meet demand from other African countries.

Meanwhile, industrial strategies need to be developed at the national, regional and continental levels. There is a major risk that the AfCFTA will eliminate intra-continental barriers while raising trade barriers with third countries. This strategy, followed by Latin America in the 1960s, has proven extremely costly and inefficient in generating the needed economic transformation. This may harm consumers’ welfare as well as affecting the productivity and competitiveness of African firms. Trade liberalisation is welcomed even at a regional level; however, it needs to be harnessed within a wider and deeper strategy of integration of Africa into the world economy.

In this sense, we should not overestimate the benefits of the AfCFTA and we should not underplay the challenges. The AfCFTA should be a first step in a wider integration and industrialisation strategy. Trade must be considered a tool rather than as an end in itself. The end is to increase trade (regardless of the partner) and to transform African economies to create jobs and raise living standards sustainably. The AfCFTA is not the single most important of the policies that African countries will need to deploy to transform their economies – but it is an extremely welcome one.

In addition, the agreement should aim to promote economic transformation as well as African trade. In this sense, the aim to increase intra-African trade may be misleading, as what African needs is more trade regardless of the partner. Aiming to increase intra-African trade may lead to distortions that will make many sectors inefficient and not competitive.

All this calls to raise awareness of the work that is needed to make a success of the AfCFTA and avoid certain undesirable outcomes. The agreement requires not only more elements of deep integration but also addressing of many of the multiple barriers that affect trade and economic transformation (beyond trade policies at the border). The AfCFTA must thus be welcomed and celebrated as long as the continent is ready to take the necessary steps to make of it a tool to put Africa into the world economy.

Maximiliano Mendez-Parra is a Senior Research Fellow at ODI.

Photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters 

Sonia Hoque (ODI) | Making Firms Work Series | How to create African factory jobs responsibly: from A to Z

This blog is the first in our ‘Making Firms Work’ series. Read the second, on Kenyan garment firm Hela, here.

Sonia Hoque  (Programme & Operations Manager, ODI)

1 March 2018

A to Z Textile Mills Ltd (A to Z) is a remarkable example of how African manufacturing can flourish. A locally owned, diversified, vertically integrated firm with over 7,000 employees, it produces and supplies a large volume and range of goods to domestic markets, and exports internationally. The firm also takes substantial social and environmental responsibility. A to Z has its own recycling plant, housing, childcare and daily meals for its predominantly female workforce, and demonstrates how large manufacturing firms can make a significant development impact.

Can Africa industrialise and move out of poverty?

SET findings from Myanmar show the great potential of the garments industry to create ‘good’ jobs. This stands in opposition to the results of an experiment by Christopher Blattman and Stefan Dercon, which found factory jobs were not an ‘escalator out of poverty’ (as many economists claim). This age-old debate in the development field reflects ideological differences between practitioners and even policy-makers: despite evidence to the contrary, many people are still not convinced that industrialisation and factory/manufacturing jobs really improve the lives of poor and low-skilled workers, arguing that they make them vulnerable to exploitation by capitalist manufacturers. Advocates of this view usually support entrepreneurial (and informal) income-generating activities or improving agriculture as the key to poverty alleviation and development. Blattman and Dercon’s conclusions seemingly supported this view, claiming that difficulties facing factory workers were a result of bad management and the absence of policies providing social protection.

One major factory in Tanzania however, is demonstrating that with vision, careful planning and a socially responsible approach to manufacturing, it is possible to address many problems associated with factory jobs to a large extent. A to Z is a family-owned and -operated company that produces light manufacturing goods including garments, household plastics and long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets. The company stands out for its considered approach to the environment and to its workers’ well-being, and for striving to manufacture goods that not only are in demand but also have a long-term impact on improving and even saving lives. For these reasons, the factory has caught the attention of many high-profile figures (Bono, Will Smith and George W. Bush, to name a few), who have visited to see how a large manufacturing company can have direct and indirect development impacts on some of the poorest people in the world.

An overview of A to Z today

A true start-up success story, A to Z began with a single Indian entrepreneur and a sewing machine in the 1960s, expanding over 50 years to become a group of various companies that export goods to countries including the US, Canada, Japan and South Africa. A to Z operates in two separate locations in Arusha, imports via Mombasa and sells domestically, and to countries in the region (e.g. cement bags to Burundi – a great example of regional value chains).

It is also one of the largest vertically integrated manufacturing plants in East Africa, and the owners pride themselves on ‘innovative manufacturing’, which in this context is not only about improving productivity and using new technology but also about producing goods that contribute to saving lives and minimising negative impacts on the environment. Careful planning by the owners has led to a cluster effect within the factory grounds. This increases productivity, and almost all of the goods and services needed to produce their wide range of products are found on-site.

The factory employs over 7,000 people and takes responsibility for their workers – ensuring safe and comfortable working conditions and providing housing for eligible workers, safe transport for those travelling in, daily meals, classroom training to build skills and even a free on-site clinic, where nurses are available to carry out check-ups for the workers. With women representing over 65% of the workforce, the owners are aware of the responsibilities and challenges facing young mothers, and there is a free on-site crèche for workers with small children.

Creating socially and environmentally responsible transformational jobs

It can be argued that non-wage benefits like the ones mentioned above are becoming increasingly common in factories in low-income countries, particularly in foreign companies, which are under pressure to show they are socially responsible when setting up operations (CSR). For example, British-owned Hela Clothing (another major player in East Africa) provides free meals and a crèche in its Athi River plant, and Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia employs high numbers of women and has a scheme to provide housing where it is needed. On the other hand, workers’ well-being can be linked to productivity – so taking care of them is a win-win.

What makes A to Z remarkable, however, is not only its contribution to Tanzanian economic transformation through the provision of large numbers of ‘good’ productive jobs but also the other socially beneficial aspects of its business model:

  • Producing insecticide-treated bednets and agricultural storage bags: These specialist products help protect against malaria and reduce post-harvest losses. Many donors have supported production and development, including the US Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
  • An on-site recycling plant: This processes waste into plastic pellets, which are then reused in their own production. Rain water is also collected, and waste water is treated and reused.
  • Research and development (R&D): Innovative manufacturing methods, which use science and technology to create products with positive development outcomes, are enhanced by the on-site Africa Technical Research Centre (built by A to Z in partnership with Sumitomo Chemicals), which is a recognised partner in the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) network.

Challenges of being a development-focused manufacturing company 

Unsurprisingly, being a socially and environmentally responsible producer does not come easy. Increasing competition in the region, rising prices of raw materials and transport and other non-tariff barriers all push up the costs of importing inputs, and are putting pressure on the firm’s profitability. Despite this, A to Z reinvests up to 100% of its profits back into the business, to improve productivity using the latest machinery and to fund R&D.

From a wider industry perspective, issues related to recent changes in VAT policies (from zero-rated to exempt status) have directly and severely affected cashflow, and made job losses inevitable. Such unplanned policy changes (which do not appear within the national second Five-Year Development Plan for industrialisation and human development) can have unintended harmful effects on manufacturers that are creating exactly the kinds of jobs needed for successful economic transformation.

A to Z shows us that the private sector can support development goals through manufacturing jobs

A to Z’s operations are in line with many of the SDGs, and a tour of the factory feels like a real-life portrayal of the SDGs in action. By offering large numbers of jobs to young female workers, providing social protection, undertaking environmental impact-reducing activities and numerous community initiatives, the company is showing that industrialists do not always take the purely profit-driven approach that non-industrialists fear will harm workers and the environment in low-income countries. A to Z has acknowledged that industrialisation and manufacturing jobs alone are not enough to address poverty, and has taken steps to maximise positive development impacts in Tanzania, while producing goods that are in demand and create highly productive jobs. One example is its use of laser fabric-cutting machinery that requires 17 people to operate. Although it replaces approximately 25 manual cutters, the machine increases the hourly output rate, quality and volume of cut fabric, and in turn creates more demand for labour downstream (e.g. for stitching stage). This example challenges the growing fear of ‘jobless growth’ in Africa as a result of digitalisation.

Overall, although A to Z is not a typical case of an African or a foreign manufacturing firm, it is an extraordinary example that challenges some of the negative views surrounding industrialisation-led development. As concluded by Calabrese and Gelb (2017), industrialisation is not a choice – the response to the challenges of industrialisation is not to forego it but to do it faster and better. A to Z shows us that socially responsible industrialists do exist, and public (policy) actions to support their growth are essential for productive job creation, and transformation, in developing countries.

 

Sonia Hoque is the Programme & Operations Manager of the Supporting Economic Transformation programme at ODI.

Photo credit (all rights reserved): A to Z, SET Programme, Overseas Development Institute ©

Leah Worrall (ODI) | Reducing fishery subsidies to support trade and transformation: where next?

Leah Worrall (Senior Research Officer, ODI)

22 December 2017

There was optimism at the start of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) 11th Ministerial Conference (MC 11) that an agreement on fisheries subsidies would be reached. In the aftermath, Member States’ failure to conclude such an agreement represents a heavy burden, as this was once described as the ‘low hanging fruit’ for the negotiations.

Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries agreed to the elimination by 2020 of fisheries subsidies contributing to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (SDG 14.6). In order to allow countries sufficient time to implement this, the need to reach agreement during MC 11 – or by 2018 at the latest – was acknowledged. The Buenos Aires Ministerial Decision instead notes the need to adopt a fisheries agreement by the time of the Ministerial Conference in 2019.

Subsidies are harmful, from an economic transformation perspective. Capacity-enhancing subsidies reduce global fishing efficiency, with inefficient fishers replacing efficient ones, whilst also enabling fishery production that would otherwise not be economically viable. The global increased production is particularly negative for countries that rely on fisheries for livelihoods, trade and value addition.

Subsidy disciplines

In a recent paper, we argue for the disciplining of fisheries subsidies as a first step in protecting the global commons of fisheries and reducing trade distortions. Developing countries capture more fish than developed nations (52 million tonnes compared with 25 million tonnes in 2015), but developed countries add more value (commodity exports reached $68.9 billion in developing countries and $70.2 billion in developed countries in 2013). Developing countries provide more fisheries subsidies in absolute terms, but only just (2003 data). Publicly available global data on fisheries subsidies are severely out of date, however.

Reduced fishing capacity – as a result of the elimination of capacity-enhancing fisheries subsidies – could be somewhat compensated for by restructuring – which can be described as shifting fishing capacity from inefficient firms (dependent on subsidies) to efficient firms (less dependent on subsidies).

Action in the following two areas could have a disproportionately positive impact in reducing global fisheries capture:

  1. Eliminating subsidies to IUU fishing. The benefit here would arise largely from the enforcement mechanism required to implement such disciplines, and could eliminate up to a quarter of global catches (according to UN Food and Agricultural Organization estimates).
  2. Eliminating fuel subsidies. Fuel subsidies support the rise of distant water fleets, in turn leading to overcapacity. Their elimination would have a strong capacity-reducing effect in fuel subsidy-dependent fishing fleets, as a function of the distant travelled by vessels.

Special and differentiated treatment

Countries are asking for special and differentiated treatment (SDT) provisions in a fisheries subsidies agreement at the WTO – for least developed countries (LDCs) or developing countries, more generally. These include Indonesia, Europe, the ACP Group, the Latin American bloc[1], the New Zealand, Iceland and Pakistan bloc, and China. The SDT provisions in Member State proposals range from exemptions to technical support and extended implementation timelines.

As developing countries may be responsible for a significant proportion of fisheries subsidies, there is a need to focus any SDT provisions on LDCs and other small and vulnerable states. As we note in our recent paper, such subsidies in LDCs may not be efficient and encourage the development of inefficient firms.

Other carve-outs for developing countries may also be warranted. For example, the small-scale fishing sector currently receives only 10% of capacity-enhancing subsidies globally.

Future agreement

If agreement cannot be reached at the WTO – or outside – there remains little hope of meeting the SDG 14.6 target. The WTO and its Member States have rallied to achieve multilateral agreement in the face of increasing doubts before; the 2015 Nairobi Package is one example.

Opportunities remain to pursue fisheries subsidies at the WTO and include the following:

  • The Ministerial Decision on fisheries subsidies aims to reach an agreement by 2019, leaving two years to agree the text. Member States should seek a broad-ranging agreement prohibiting subsidies to IUU fishing, overcapacity and overfishing. Multiple avenues remain, including modelling the text on the Agriculture Agreement (and its green, amber and red boxes). Strong SDT flexibilities may be necessary for buy-in. Some broad flexibilities could be awarded to developing countries on implementation timelines, given the short timescales available. Stronger SDT provisions could be introduced for LDCs, such as in the form of technical and financial capacity support, or exemptions where necessary. This approach could follow that of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, for example.
  • WTO plurilateral negotiations on fisheries subsidies could be launched, drawing on lessons learnt through the Environmental Goods Agreement negotiations (with agreement yet to be reached). This would be a forum for the major players, including major opponents of fisheries subsidy disciplines, to reach consensus. The plurilateral group could include Europe, emerging and developed Asian economies (e.g. China, South Korea, Japan and others) and the US, among others. The aim would be for other WTO Member States to join the plurilateral agreement over time.
  • The Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) could be used to discipline fisheries subsidies through disputes. The US proposal on fishery subsidies recommends improvements in notifications of fisheries subsidies to the WTO under SCM Article 25.3. Fisheries-related cases brought to the WTO’s Appellate Body before include the US-Shrimp and Dolphin-Tuna[2] But challenges remain in adopting this approach. The willingness of Member States to bring cases on fisheries subsidies may be low. The WTO’s Appellate Body has a poor track record of ruling in favour of environmental concerns.[3] The SCM itself does not have the environmental exemption present in other agreements, such as that included in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Article XX. The US is meanwhile blocking the appointment (or re-appointment) of judges to the Appellate Body, with negative implications for the long-term functioning of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.

Regardless, Member States should continue to pursue all these avenues to discipline fisheries subsidies. This is pertinent not only to reviving trust in the WTO but also to achieving the SDGs. The WTO’s Negotiating Group on Rules (NGR) should endeavour to reach consensus on fisheries subsidy disciplines. These negotiations will likely touch upon political sticking points. For example, whereas Europe seeks to exclude fuel subsidies from the agreement, the US seeks to include these. This will require consensus-building by the NGR and compromise by Member States.

In the meantime, countries should pursue unilateral action in disciplining fisheries subsidies – and eliminating subsidies to IUU fishing could be an important first step.

[1] Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

[2] These contested restrictions on fishing methods for shrimp and tuna species, using the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Technical Barriers on Trade agreements.

[3] This owes in particular to the difficulty in proving environmental measures do not constitute ‘arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries’ (GATT Article XX). The few successful cases on environmental/health grounds include France–Canada asbestos, Brazil re-treaded tyres and the Canada renewable energy case.

Photo credit: Fisheries by Giulian Frisoni via Flickr

WTO MC11 Negotiations: Implications for Economic Transformation in Developing Countries

The negotiations at the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (WTO MC11) have so far failed to conclude with a comprehensive deal on agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), services and improvements in WTO rules that would make world trade freer, helping the global economy and developing countries in particular. There have, however, been small achievements in past rounds (MC9 in Bali and MC10 in Nairobi). This analysis examines the possible impact of current negotiating proposals in the main areas being discussed in the run-up to MC11 (agriculture, e-commerce, fisheries).

SUMMARY PAPER

DOWNLOAD SUMMARY PAPER

IN-DEPTH PAPERS

DOWNLOAD AGRICULTURE PAPER

DOWNLOAD E-COMMERCE PAPER

DOWNLOAD FISHERIES PAPER

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference takes place in Buenos Aires from 10 to 13 December 2017. This will be the 11th Ministerial (MC11) since the start of the WTO and the 7th since the start of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations. The SET programme will host a side event on Trade, Trade Policy and Economic Transformation at the Trade & Sustainable Development Symposium alongside the WTO MC11 on 13th December.

The negotiations have so far failed to conclude with a comprehensive deal on agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), services and improvements in WTO rules that would make world trade freer, helping the global economy and developing countries in particular. There have, however, been small achievements in past rounds (MC9 in Bali and MC10 in Nairobi). The summary paper examines the possible impact of current negotiating proposals in the main areas being discussed in the run-up to MC11 (agriculture, e-commerce, fisheries).

There is much unfinished business in the Doha Round, as developing countries have highlighted. Further improvements on both market access in agriculture and NAMA remain to be negotiated. However, some key issues central to the interest of developing countries are expected to be at the centre of discussions in MC11. On agriculture, negotiations have been held on domestic support (including a permanent solution to public food stockholding) and the new special safeguard measure. At the same time, new issues, such as necessary new rules on e-commerce and the digital economy, have come up that could benefit from multilateral attention. Discussions are also being held on eliminating trade-distorting subsidies on fisheries. Three background papers by ODI cover each area in detail – agriculture, e-commerce and fisheries:

Balchin, N. and Mendez-Parra, M., ‘Agriculture: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries

Lemma, A. F., ‘E-commerce: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries’.

Worrall, L. and Mendez-Parra, M., ‘Fisheries: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries

Photo credit: Containers in port by stalkERR via Flickr

13 December 2017 | Trade, Trade Policy and Economic Transformation at the WTO MC11

Side Event at the WTO Ministerial Trade & Sustainable Development Symposium, Bolsa de Cereales, Buenos Aires, Argentina 

ODI side event hosted by Supporting Economic Transformation:
Breakout Room 3,  on Wednesday 13 December 2017 at 13:30-15:00

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Economic transformation is crucial for the type of growth that reduces poverty, create jobs and is resilient to shocks. But many low-income countries have failed to transform successfully. Trade has nearly always been a key component in those countries that have transformed successfully. This event will unpack the role that trade has played in the process of transformation in a number of countries and regions and discuss how trade policy provisions such as those currently under discussion at the WTO can further contribute.

The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) at ODI defines economic transformation as the process of moving from low productivity to high productivity activities, either between or within sectors. Trade, or exposure to trade, can increase productivity in existing sectors or firms as well as move resources from inefficient into efficient firms and sectors.

Multilateral trade provisions can help set the right incentives to invest, innovate, produce and trade in sectors with comparative advantage. They can also generate maintain opportunities in new sectors currently affected by global protectionism and other trade distortions. Current discussions at the WTO that might affect ET includes the elimination of subsidies in fishing, tightening disciplines on domestic support of agriculture and further provisions on digital trade and e-commerce.

This event is part of the Trade & Sustainable Development Symposium (TSDS), which is running alongside the WTO MC11 conference in Buenos Aires.

A link to the event page for TSDS can be found online here.

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Chair

Dirk Willem te Velde  – Principal Research Fellow and Head, International Economic Development Group, ODI @DWteVelde

Speakers

Dr. Lucio Castro – Secretary for Productive Transformation, Ministry of Production of Argentina @LucioCastro_

Patricia Francis – Former Executive Director of ITC, and former member UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment @patrfrancis

Anabel Gonzalez – Senior Director, The World Bank Group @Gonzalez_WBG

Andrew McCoubrey – Deputy Director for Trade for Development, Department for International Trade, UK

Dr Maximiliano Mendez-Parra – Senior Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute @m_mendezparra

Tanzania Impact Case Study: Supporting Tanzania’s Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDPII)

The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) programme helped to inform and design Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP II) 2016/17-2020/21 and continues to guide prioritisation and strategic thinking around the country’s economic transformation. The programme also directly supported the preparation of an Implementation Strategy (IS) for the FYDP II, ensuring it was underpinned by relevant principles and factors to achieve successful implementation. SET was also influential in motivating a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to track progress and demonstrate results.

Introduction

The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) programme helped to inform and design Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP II) 2016/17-2020/21 and continues to guide prioritisation and strategic thinking around the country’s economic transformation. The programme also directly supported the preparation of an Implementation Strategy (IS) for the FYDP II, ensuring it was underpinned by relevant principles and factors to achieve successful implementation. SET was also influential in motivating a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to track progress and demonstrate results.

SET helped Tanzania’s Planning Commission to prioritise sectors most relevant for economic transformation, identify policy options and ways of working to address binding constraints to transformation, and devise ways to mobilise finance and engage development partners and enlist their support for interventions, as witnessed in the FYDP II. SET also supported the Government of Tanzania (GoT) to adopt a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of the FYDP II and its implementation.

SET helped to build networks spanning government, businesses and donors in Tanzania. This included direct support for better engagement between the government and the private sector and the facilitation of dialogue between the GoT and Tanzania’s development partners.

The Policy Challenge

Tanzania has ambitious targets to become a semi-industrialised nation by 2025. Tanzania’s past attempts at industrialisation have not always been successful. Implementation in Tanzania is a very complex issue; a major challenge has been to develop a comprehensive national strategy, and effective national development plans, to guide the economic transformation process, and to generate broad consensus across different stakeholders around an industrialisation agenda. The GoT has also struggled to prioritise interventions to support industrialisation and economic transformation and to implement (and monitor) much-needed interventions effectively. The challenge was to design and implement a FYDP II 2016/17-2020/21 that emphasises the importance of industrialisation to generate both sustained economic transformation and human development.

What SET did

SET supported Tanzania’s Planning Commission (located within the Ministry of Finance and Planning) with in-depth analytical work to inform the preparation of the FYDP II and policy advice to guide prioritisation and strategic thinking around the country’s economic transformation. The SET programme also provided direct support to the Planning Commission in the preparation of an IS for the FYDP II.

Impact

We consider the impact of the SET programme’s work in Kenya across four broad types as outlined by DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP): conceptual impacts (changing perceptions or approaches), instrumental impacts (tangible changes in either policy or practice), capacity building impacts, and improvements to connectivity across different actors.

Conceptual impacts

SET was influential in shaping the content, thrust and direction of the FYDP II. This included support to key actors in the Planning Commission to identify and prioritise the sectors most relevant for economic transformation in Tanzania. SET also helped the Planning Commission to identify policy options – both horizontal and sector-specific interventions – to address binding constraints to economic transformation. Moreover, SET influenced the GoT’s thinking on ways to engage development partners and mobilise their support for interventions that aid the achievement of the FYDP II objectives in a more coordinated and efficient manner.

SET was also instrumental in helping the GoT to adopt a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of the FYDP II and its implementation. In collaboration with REPOA, SET organised the first ever consultation on the FYDP II in Dar es Salaam in October 2015. The Honourable Dr. Philip Mpango, the then Executive Secretary of the Planning Commission and now Tanzania’s Minister of Finance, attended the consultation, extending a long-running working relationship with SET that began with discussions in February 2015. The consultation provided an opportunity for Tanzania’s Planning Commission to engage with around 100 stakeholders from both the

“The Government of Tanzania will look to move forward with the same passion that ODI-SET has for the transformation of Tanzania.”

Paul Maduka Kessy, Planning Commission, MOFP, GoT

public and private sectors in Tanzania and facilitated discussion on emerging priority areas and potential implementation mechanisms. This represented a marked improvement over the first five-year development plan, for which little public consultation took place.

 

 

 

Philip Mpango, Tanzanian Minister of Finance

 

The SET programme helped devise key principles for Tanzania to follow for successful implementation of the FYDP II and highlighted relevant lessons from successful experiences in implementing economic transformation policies in other countries. These insights helped the Planning Commission to prioritise issues and activities for successful implementation to nurture an industrial economy.

Instrumental impacts

SET’s work and its core findings were instrumental in supporting the drafting of the FYDP II and a number of insights fed directly into the Plan published in 2016. For instance, SET’s analytical work on manufacturing exports, labour productivity change, FYDP I progress against targets, and financial flows in Tanzania was cited directly in the FYDP II. SET was also responsible for the Plan’s emphasis on political economy factors and effective ways of working – including the importance of experimentation and problem-driven and flexible approaches to implementation – to make industrialisation and economic transformation a reality.

SET also helped the Planning Commission to devise an implementation strategy and financing plans to guide the implementation of the FYDP II, via direct input in shaping the content of the FYDP II IS. Together with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), SET provided backstopping support to assist the Planning Commission to devise action plans for three sectors (cotton-to-textiles, leather and leather products, and pharmaceuticals) and two cross-cutting themes (special economic zones and urbanisation) which will be prioritised in the initial phase of implementation. With this support, the Planning Commission prepared a detailed IS comprising four components: (i) an action plan; (ii) a financing strategy; (iii) a communication strategy; and (iv) a M&E framework. SET advocated for the inclusion of the M&E framework to track progress and demonstrate results. This represents an important step towards ensuring effective implementation.

“We thank the ODI-SET for its tireless efforts to assist the Government of Tanzania and the citizens of Tanzania.”

 Paul Maduka Kessy, Planning Commission, MOFP, GoT

SET’s influence in shaping key policy documents in Tanzania goes beyond the FYDP II and its accompanying IS. Suggestions stemming from SET’s research – including those emphasising the need to combat tax evasion and minimise tax exemptions, introduce more effective taxation of the informal sector, strengthen the collection of property taxes and effectively facilitate electronic payment of taxes – were also reflected in the GoT’s budget priorities and policies for the 2016/17 financial year. In particular, the work helped to influence policies around domestic resource mobilisation and budget structuring, and in relation to supporting priority industries and improving the enabling environment for private sector participation. SET also provided peer review and guidance to the authors (Ali Mufuruki, a renowned Tanzanian business leader, along with Rahim Mawji, Gilman Kasiga and Moremi Marwa) of a recently published book on Tanzania’s Industrialisation Journey, 2016-2056: From and Agrarian to a Modern Industrialised State in Forty Years. The book contains several excellent proposals to drive future industrialisation in Tanzania and makes an important contribution to fostering a debate on the efficacy of different industrialisation models in the country.

Capacity building impacts

SET supported a number of Tanzanian institutions and organisations. In addition to the direct support provided to the Planning Commission, SET supported the FYDP II drafting team and worked together with two local research partners, REPOA and the ESRF, to aid the preparation of the FYDP II and accompanying FYDP II IS, respectively. SET also provided a platform for the CEO Roundtable in Tanzania to discuss issues related to the FYDP II in a public setting.

 Workshop on FYDP implementation strategy, Oct 2016

Connectivity impacts

SET helped to build networks across the government, businesses and donors in Tanzania. SET supported better engagement between the government and the private sector in the strategic implementation of the FYDP II by organising a private sector consultative workshop in collaboration with the ESRF in October 2016. This played a crucial role in facilitating private sector engagement with the FYDP II for the first time, and raised awareness of the role that the private sector can play in its

“The private sector appreciates the fact that the FYDP II is being conceived through consultation. This is a clear positive in comparison to the previous FYDP.”

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation

implementation. The workshop, which was attended by a range of different private sector actors as well as government officials, development partners, civil society organisations, research institutions, think tanks and non-governmental organisations, helped to build consensus around how to approach implementation of the FYDP II and on the core elements that should constitute a strategy and framework to guide the effective implementation of the Plan. In addition, the workshop contributed to developing a shared understanding of the practical roles that different stakeholders – both in the public and private sectors – should play in implementing the FYDP II.

In addition, SET directly facilitated dialogue between the GoT and Tanzania’s development partners (DFID and the European Union) on ways in which donors can support the implementation of the Plan.

SET also helped Tanzania’s Planning Commission to communicate the goals, objectives and priorities of the FYDP II and its plans for implementation to different stakeholders by preparing and publishing a set of three briefings: (i) summarising the FYDP II and its key action points; (ii) summarising proposed actions and financing plans for implementation; and (iii) and outlining options to link government plans with donors and businesses. In relation to the latter, SET also linked donors (including DFID and the European Union) with the GoT after a period in which donors had suspended budget support for Tanzania. These donors are now looking for new ways to support Tanzania. Members of the SET team also published commentary in the Tanzanian media on the GoT’s 2017/18 budget, the country’s remaining economic transformation challenges and the need for Tanzania to form a consensus on how to achieve industrialisation. This has helped to raise awareness of Tanzania’s industrialisation and economic transformation challenges and priorities.

What SET learned

SET’s work in Tanzania has highlighted the power of coordinating support from the public and private sector and local research institutions around an agreed set of principles, priority areas and interventions to drive industrialisation, economic transformation and human development.

Useful links

For further details on SET’s work in Tanzania please see the following:

Event report from a consultative workshop on the drafting of FYDPII on 6 October 2015:  https://set.odi.org/6-october-2015-shaping-tanzanias-second-five-year-development-plan/

Final full SET study and summary paper for the drafting of FYDPII: https://set.odi.org/supporting-preparation-tanzanias-second-five-year-development-plan-fydpii/

Event report from a consultative workshop on the implementation of FYDPII on 27 October 2016:  https://set.odi.org/27-october-2016-effective-implementation-tanzanias-second-five-year-development-plan-fydpii/

Briefing papers on the Implementation Strategy for FYDPII: https://set.odi.org/tanzanias-second-five-year-development-plan-fydp-ii-briefing-papers/

Blog by Dirk Willem te Velde on practical industrialisation models in Tanzania: https://set.odi.org/fostering-debate-industrialisation-models-tanzania/

A PDF version of this impact study can be downloaded here: SET Impact Case Study – Tanzania

This impact study has been prepared by Neil Balchin, ODI Research Fellow. For further information contact details are available here.

 

Kenya Impact Case Study: Promoting industrialisation, manufacturing and job creation

The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) programme successfully promoted the importance of manufacturing in Kenya, and guided the prioritisation of policy actions targeting policymakers at an opportune time – ahead of the 2017 Kenyan elections, working directly with local research partners, world call academics and a major private sector association. This followed in-depth and high-quality scoping background work which was presented to, and received inputs from, development partners including the World Bank, donors and the Government of Kenya.

Introduction

The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) programme successfully promoted the importance of manufacturing in Kenya, and guided the prioritisation of policy actions targeting policymakers at an opportune time – ahead of the 2017 Kenyan elections, working directly with local research partners, world class academics and a major private sector association. This followed in-depth and high-quality scoping background work which was presented to, and received inputs from, development partners including the World Bank, donors and the Government of Kenya.

SET collaborated with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), a private sector organisation to develop a 10-point policy priority plan around manufacturing, which was used to discuss, and directly influence the content of political party manifestos. Tangible success was demonstrated with a high-profile signing of a commitment to the priorities by two major political parties at a public launch event. The work, and the engagement of political party representatives also generated significant national media coverage and helped to communicate the messages of in-depth research to a wide audience.

The SET work helped to build KAM’s strong networks, and the tangible result was a policy- and action-focused document which they were able to use to engage with (and influence) the Kenyan government.


(From left to right): Neil Balchin, Research Fellow (ODI), Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, Chief Executive Officer (KAM), Oduor Ong’wen, Executive Director, ODM, National Super Alliance (NASA), Ms. Flora Mutahi, Chairperson (KAM) and Ekuru Aukot, Party Leader, Third Way Alliance Kenya

The Policy Challenge

There is currently a window of opportunity African countries in manufacturing. Rising wages in Asia, rebalancing in China, strong regional growth in Africa and improving policies and institutions are creating positive conditions for manufacturing, and there is significant room to develop manufacturing output. However, the window of opportunity in labour-intensive manufacturing is closing fast (possibly in the next 20-30 years) due to increasing mechanisation and automation. Intense competition from Asian countries (e.g. Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh) who have similar or lower wages, higher productivity, better infrastructure, more skilled labour forces, and higher levels of integration into GVCs is also a major challenge. In order to take advantage of the current opportunities, Kenya needs to act fast to develop its manufacturing sector, as other African countries will be looking to do the same.

It was in this context that KAM approached SET to collaborate on a project aiming to influence politicians and policy-makers to incorporate manufacturing priorities when developing their economic plans in the pre- and post-election periods in 2017. A broader policy challenge was to promote the importance of economic transformation and industrialisation as driving forces behind job creation and poverty reduction. More specifically, the main objective of the project was to position the development of manufacturing and industry in Kenya as a priority for the country’s economic transformation and job creation for the next five years.

What SET did

Leading SET researchers from ODI, local consultant Anzetse Were and KAM consultant Gituro Wainaina worked closely with KAM to develop a policy priority plan around manufacturing. As the target audience for the work was to reach and influence politicians and other policy-makers, the team decided to develop a concise 10-point booklet listing priorities for manufacturing, with corresponding suggested ‘actions’ informed by expert analysis of the current state of the Kenyan manufacturing sector. The 10 points covered issues including land accessibility and ownership, energy, value chains, public-private sector collaboration and labour market skills, and for each a selection of tailored policy solution (actions) were suggested. In order to be as comprehensive as possible, the content was developed with active inputs from the Office of the President of Kenya, the State Department for the Environment, the State Department for Trade, Kenya Industrial Estates, IDB Capital Kenya, KEPSA, MSEA, TMEA, ICDC and the KAM Board.

In July 2017, two launch events for the booklet were held in Nairobi. The first was a private meeting for KAM’s member organisations, and the second was a high-profile launch event on 5 July, attended by two major political parties. The aim of the launch was to engage with the major political parties in the upcoming Kenyan general elections (in August 2017) and push for buy-in and cross-party support for the priorities identified in the agenda to transform manufacturing in Kenya. At the event, the Executive Director of ODM (NASA party) and the presidential candidate/leader of Thirdway Alliance Kenya signed a ceremonial commitment to the 10 policy recommendations. This was one excellent example of tangible impact of the SET research; further impacts are discussed below.

Impact

Broadly, the work had demonstrable success towards one of core aims of the SET Programme: supporting the private sector. Through the project, SET supported KAM’s engagement with future policymakers on which policies the private sector believe are needed for high growth and job creation. The event also generated significant media coverage including over 10 hits in national media, reflecting the importance and relevance of the topic to a wide audience.

We consider the impact of the SET programme’s work in Kenya across four broad types as outlined by DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP): conceptual impacts (changing perceptions or approaches), instrumental impacts (tangible changes in either policy or practice), capacity building impacts, and improvements to connectivity across different actors.

Conceptual impacts

SET contributed to the knowledge around Kenyan manufacturing by carrying out detailed scoping studies by leading experts such as John Page (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution) and Phyllis Papadavid (Team Leader, International Macroeconomics, ODI). These were presented to a group of stakeholders at a closed roundtable in Nairobi in August 2016 including representatives from African Development Bank, World Bank, TMEA, JICA, DFID Kenya, Government of Kenya, KAM, ACET, private sector and others. These papers contributed to the perceptions of those in attendance, who came to a consensus that manufacturing and industry needed to be the focus of the next administration.

“The KAM launch event was a great example of getting cross-party support on useful reforms”

Daniel Marks, Economic Advisor, DFID Kenya

Tangible evidence of conceptual impact from this project can be seen by the extensive media coverage of the 5 July 2017 launch of the 10-point policy priority plan which gave high visibility and prominence to both the SET programme and the key messages of the manufacturing agenda.

Finally, the work also had conceptual impacts on the political party representatives who were present at the launch meetings, who agreed that a commitment to manufacturing should be a priority for the next administration.

Instrumental impacts

SET also had tangible instrumental impact from this work. One of the most significant was seen following discussions between KAM and the Government of Kenya on the 10 policy priorities: comparisons with party manifestos showed several suggestions were taken on board and incorporated. These included issues such as public fiscal management, the role of SEZs and the importance of improved access to reliable and sustainable energy, and industrialisation was a key focus of the manifestos (where it had not been previously), demonstrating SET and KAM’s possible influence on policy-forming processes.

Evidence of instrumental impact was most powerful at the launch event on 5 July 2017, where representatives from the two political parties in attendance both signed a ceremonial commitment to the 10 points in the policy priority agenda, pledging to incorporate them into future policies. The representatives specified the industrial agenda as central to Kenya’s economic transformation in general terms, with NASA emphasising innovative initiatives, small and medium enterprise (SME) and informal sector, and Jubilee and the Third Way Alliance were more specific about industry related policies in their recommendations.

The work was also influential on the KAM more broadly, as it was presented to KAM’s member organisations at their Annual General Meeting. This ensured the exposure of a wide range of private sector firms to research and policy analysis on the manufacturing sector.

Signing commitment to the 10-point plan on 5 July 2017

 

 

 

 

(From left to right): Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, Chief Executive Officer, KAM, Oduor Ong’wen, Executive Director, ODM, National Super Alliance (NASA), Ms. Flora Mutahi, Chairperson, KAM

Capacity building impacts

This work significantly supported the KAM with prioritisation related to manufacturing and will be used in the future, beyond the election period, to advocate private sector interests with the government. KAM have already begun further work to develop policy briefs for the purposes of engaging the County Government and other stakeholders at the county level (which was one of SET’s recommendations). This shows a demonstrable and effective SET ‘exit’, with strong local actors taking forward a transformational agenda built on, and following SET research and support.

“We remain greatly indebted to you for the support.

We now have a document that has clearly and concisely elaborated the manufacturing priorities, and which has so far been very well- received by the main political parties we have engaged.”

Dalmas Okendo, Head of Operations, KAM

By engaging local experts including Anzetse Were (development economist and columnist for Business Daily in Kenya) and Gituro Wainana (Professor and KAM consultant) SET has ensured that there will be ongoing engagement on the work.

An example of this is Anzetse Were’s coverage of a major investment by East Africa Breweries Limited’s (EABL) to establish a Sh15 billion brewery in Kisumu, which aligns with the messages of the work (namely that increasing manufacturing is a key part of economic development). This was also discussed at a private roundtable with a private sector firm, Diageo.

As mentioned previously, KAM also used the booklet to secure meetings with political parties ahead of the unveiling of election manifestos, at which they were able to put forward the case for investment in manufacturing.

Connectivity impacts

This work has strengthened networks of stakeholders both in the development and utilisation of the research. The former was reflected by the wide-ranging experts present at the scoping meetings on 29 August, including over 30 representatives from DFID Kenya, the Kenyan Government, the World Bank, and research organisations including the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

In addition, the main launch on 5 July 2017 was a very successful event, generating approximately 10 national media hits, including an independent blog and attracted two major political parties. Examples of media coverage includes The Star, The Standard, Business Daily and KBC News.

Finally, through the process of developing the booklet, SET provided a mechanism for KAM (and its members organisations) to engage with the Kenyan Government and other political parties/coalitions at a critical time for Kenyan politics. The process also facilitated dialogue between DFID Kenya and KAM over the relative weight of various priorities for policy-makers.

What SET learned

SET’s work with KAM and wider work on manufacturing in Kenya highlights successes of working collaboratively with local partners, private and analytical, to translate analytical and in-depth research into actionable, concise policy recommendations, and then communicating these to Government through influential local (private sector) organisations with strong networks.

The importance of timing is also a positive lesson learned; by targeting and meeting with political parties ahead of elections, there was a strong incentive for politicians to engage with the research findings.

Finally, the positive result of a well-thought communications plan was evident in this project – a 10-point easy-to-consume booklet and public launch helped to communicate the messages to both government and media, attracting attention and influencing the thinking of a wide audience.

Useful links

The 10 policy priorities booklet and summary handout can be downloaded here.
For a detailed event report of the public launch on 5 July 2017, click here.
The in-depth background papers and roundtable report on 29 August 2016 can be found here.

A PDF version of this impact study can be downloaded here: SET Impact Case Study – Kenya

This impact study has been prepared by Sonia Hoque, SET Programme & Operations Manager. For further information contact details are available here.

 

26 October 2017 | Pathways to Prosperity and Inclusive Job Creation in Nepal

On 26th October 2017, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in collaboration with South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) presented new research on job creation and pathways to prosperity in Nepal. This research was launched at a high-profile event in Kathmandu, attended by stakeholders from the four sectors studied, development partners and various private sector associations including the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the ILO and the Confederation of Nepalese Industries. The Honourable Vice Chairman of the Nepal National Planning Commission, Swarnim Wagle also attended.

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On 26th October 2017, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in collaboration with South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) presented new research on job creation and pathways to prosperity in Nepal.

Building a consensus view of how Nepal can transform and create jobs in the future is crucial to incentivise policy action. However, there seems to be little or no political debate on job creation. This presented an opportunity to agree a consensus view and unifying, practical vision on how the country can transform and create jobs. A new extensive study carried out in January 2017 examined what can be done to ease Nepal’s constraints to job creation, based on a new firm-level survey in four promising sectors: agro-processing; light manufacturing; information and communication technology (ICT); and tourism. The study examined major constraints to the firm-level growth and the Nepalese labour market in terms of labour market tightness and labour market skills and proposes general recommendations as well as sector-specific policy suggestions.

This research was launched at a high-profile event in Kathmandu, attended by stakeholders from the four sectors studied, development partners and various private sector associations including the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the ILO and the Confederation of Nepalese Industries. The Honourable Vice Chairman of the Nepal National Planning Commission, Swarnim Wagle also attended.

Media coverage

Leading English dailies (also in print)

Full editorial: Labour issues, Kathmandu Post, 31 October

Nepal to face labour shortage by 2030, Kathmandu Post, 27 October

Stakeholders stress on inclusive job creation, Himalayan Times, 27 October

Nepal to face labour shortage by 2030, Wio News, 27 October

Weight of migration (Editorial), Kathmandu Post, 2 February 2018

National news coverage (from 4:40) Karobar news

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 National news coverage (from 22:00): Artha ko Artha

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DATA BRIEFING | Using SET data to identify economic transformation opportunities in low income countries

Using data available to download from the Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) data portal, this briefing shows that labour and total factor productivity differentials exist at all levels in the economy, both between sectors and with sectors. This suggest there are significant opportunities for promoting economic transformation. This data briefing first discusses productivity differentials between sectors and then productivity differentials between firms within sectors.

Dirk Willem te Velde, October 2017

DOWNLOAD DATA BRIEFING

Using data available to download from the Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) data portal, this briefing shows that labour and total factor productivity differentials exist at all levels in the economy, both between sectors and with sectors. This suggest there are significant opportunities for promoting economic transformation.

This data briefing first discusses productivity differentials between sectors and then productivity differentials between firms within sectors.

Key messages

  • Data available on the SET data portal show that productivity differentials exist both between, and within sectors in low-income countries, which points to significant opportunities for promoting economic transformation.
  • Data show the recent pattern of economic growth in Africa has involved little structural change across sectors.
  • Labour productivity differentials between sectors decrease as levels of income increase, suggesting further opportunities for economic transformation in LICs
  • Firm-level productivity data suggest large productivity differentials between firms within sectors.

Photo credit: Addis Ababa Market, SET Programme, Overseas Development Institute ©

Pathways to Prosperity and Transformation in Nepal: A Four Sector Study

Giles Henley, Sonia Hoque, Alberto Lemma, Posh Raj Pandey and Dirk Willem te Velde, October 2017
Building a consensus view of how Nepal can transform and create jobs in the future is crucial to incentivise policy action. However, there seems to be little or no political debate on job creation. This presents an
opportunity to agree a consensus view and a unifying, practical vision on how the country can transform and create jobs. This project examines credible pathways to prosperity and inclusive job creation from a scenario perspective. It discusses the type of sectors that can help grow and transform Nepal to reduce its import dependency and increase its exports and what implications different sectors have for inclusive job creation.

Giles Henley, Sonia Hoque, Alberto Lemma, Posh Raj Pandey and Dirk Willem te Velde, October 2017

Reports

DOWNLOAD PATHWAYS PAPER               DOWNLOAD FOUR SECTOR STUDY PAPER

Sector case study papers

TOURISM SECTOR PAPER          AGRO-PROCESSING SECTOR PAPER

ICT SECTOR PAPER      MANUFACTURING SECTOR PAPER

Summary Briefing papers

DOWNLOAD PATHWAYS SUMMARY BRIEFING         DOWNLOAD FOUR SECTOR STUDY SUMMARY BRIEFING

In January 2017, a study was commissioned which examined Nepal’s potential for economic transformation, with an in-depth case study of four sectors with strong potential to drive transformation.

This paper ‘Pathways‘ examines credible pathways to prosperity and inclusive job creation from a scenario perspective. It discusses the type of sectors that can help grow and transform Nepal and what implications different sectors have for inclusive job creation.

The paper ‘Four Sector Study‘ analyses the state of Nepal’s labour market and examines what can be done to ease the country’s constraints to job creation on the basis of a new firm-level survey of over 40 firms carried out in January 2017 in four promising sectors for economic transformation and job creation. It also discusses policy suggestions on how to develop sectors. In addition to informing the government of Nepal, the paper also aims to inform the design of a policy component for the Department for International Development (DFID) Nepal Skills for Employment Programme.

The results of the surveys, for each sector, are presented in greater detail in individual sectoral papers for:

  • Agro-processing
  • Light manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Two briefing papers are available to download above, summarising the key findings from the main papers.

Media coverage

Leading English dailies (also in print)

Full editorial: Labour issues, Kathmandu Post, 31 October

Nepal to face labour shortage by 2030, Kathmandu Post, 27 October

Stakeholders stress on inclusive job creation, Himalayan Times, 27 October

Nepal to face labour shortage by 2030, Wio News, 27 October

National news coverage (from 4:40) Karobar news

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 National news coverage (from 22:00): Artha ko Artha

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Photo credit: ©Simone D. McCourtie, World Bank via Flickr

The Shift of Manufacturing Employment in China

Jun Hou, Stephen Gelb and Linda Calabrese, October 2017
Chinese manufacturers, in particular in labour-intensive industries, are striving hard for ways to withstand the pressures emerging during the ‘New Normal’ transition– such as slowing economic growth, labour force shortages and rising factor costs. As a result, many are in the process of, or at least considering, relocation of production to other low-cost destinations, or replacing workers with machines by upgrading technological capability levels. The relocation of Chinese manufacturing is forecast to open up major employment opportunities for low-cost regions and countries, with the potential for one to become the new global centre for manufacturing.

Stephen Gelb, Linda Calabrese and Jun Hou, October 2017

DOWNLOAD SUMMARY BACKGROUND PAPER

DOWNLOAD BACKGROUND PAPER: ENABLING FACTORS

DOWNLOAD BACKGROUND PAPER: THE SHIFT OF EMPLOYMENT

Chinese manufacturers, in particular in labour-intensive industries, are striving hard for ways to withstand the pressures emerging during the ‘New Normal’ transition– such as slowing economic growth, labour force shortages and rising factor costs. As a result, many are in the process of, or at least considering, relocation of production to other low-cost destinations, or replacing workers with machines by upgrading technological capability levels. The relocation of Chinese manufacturing is forecast to open up major employment opportunities for low-cost regions and countries, with the potential for one to become the new global centre for manufacturing.

Light manufacturing offers growth solutions for under-developed regions and economies as it is driven by low-factor costs and an abundant workforce. These background papers, which have informed the direction of a large-scale survey of Chinese firms currently underway and led by SET and the Centre for New Structural Economics, look at light manufacturing in China across four sub-sectors: clothing and footwear, toys, household appliances and information and communication technology. The first paper explores the patterns of the shift of light manufacturing employment within China, focusing on regional and industrial disparities, while the second focuses on the enabling factors in Africa and Asia that are driving this change. The summary paper brings these themes together and concludes that there remain low-cost opportunities for manufacturers within China, and that if other developing countries are to capitalise on the current opportunity, they must seek to address the challenges associated with their location-specific costs, while also engaging directly with Chinese firms in relevant sectors.

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The relocation of Chinese manufacturing companies to Africa (Jun Hou, ODI)

 

Photo credit: ©ILO. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Economic Transformation and Job Creation in Mozambique

Neil Balchin, Peter Coughlin, Phyllis Papadavid, Dirk Willem te Velde and Kasper Vrolijk, October 2017
Mozambique’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown annually by 5–7% in real terms over the past decade, but this has not been accompanied by structural change or sufficient job creation. The country requires a different focus towards economic transformation to address the very challenging short-term macroeconomic situation and create much-needed jobs in a sustainable way. This report on economic transformation and job creation in Mozambique synthesises 30 recent studies to understand commonalities and differences on promising sectors and value chains in Mozambique, binding constraints to developing these activities, and policies that have been suggested to achieve these.

Neil Balchin, Peter Coughlin, Phyllis Papadavid, Dirk Willem te Velde and Kasper Vrolijk, October 2017

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Mozambique’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown annually by 5–7% in real terms over the past decade, but this has not been accompanied by structural change or sufficient job creation. The country requires a different focus towards economic transformation to address the very challenging short-term macroeconomic situation and create much-needed jobs in a sustainable way.

The SET report on economic transformation and job creation in Mozambique synthesises 30 recent studies to understand commonalities and differences on promising sectors and value chains in Mozambique, binding constraints to developing these activities, and policies that have been suggested to achieve these. Thus, rather than undertaking new analysis, this synthesis paper reflects on existing analyses broadly related to industrialisation and economic transformation in Mozambique in order to provide a base from which to move forward on the specifics of how to transform the economy.

The summary paper outlines the most pressing development challenges facing Mozambique and how they affect prospects for transformation and job creation; discusses the promising sectors for future transformation; and highlights the actions needed to accelerate transformation based on a review of 30 studies in the recent literature on economic transformation. It then discusses next steps for the Government of Mozambique (GoM) and its partners, such as the UK Department for International Development (DFID), around the development models (the what) and institutional capabilities (the how) required to implement a distinctly Mozambican transformation and job creation strategy.

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Mozambique needs to act now to avert a jobs crisis (Neil Balchin, ODI)

Photo credit: Eric Miller/ World Bank via Flickr

Neil Balchin (ODI) | Mozambique needs to act now to avert a jobs crisis

Neil Balchin (Research Fellow, ODI)

16 October 2017

Many countries in Africa are facing a looming jobs crisis. According to the African Development Bank, only one-fifth of the 12 million young people entering African labour markets each year are able to find waged employment. Rapidly expanding working-age populations on the continent only intensify competition for paid work. The International Monetary Fund reckons that by 2035 sub-Saharan Africa will boast more working-age people than all of the world’s other regions combined.

While the promise of a demographic dividend spurred by a burgeoning working-age population can help drive higher growth and accelerate development, it also creates major challenges in terms of sustainable job creation. At their current pace of growth, most African economies are simply not creating enough jobs to absorb their expanding workforces. Researchers at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change suggest the jobs deficit in Africa could reach 50 million by 2040.

The challenges in Mozambique are similar, though also specific. Despite registering annual growth in the range of 5-7% in real terms over the past decade, Mozambique has not developed structurally or created sufficient quality jobs for inclusive growth. The unemployment rate stands at 27%; among those who are employed, only 6% work in the formal sector and only 3% are active in the private sector. An estimated 420,000 young people enter the labour market in Mozambique each year, adding to the urgency to develop a coherent strategy to address the challenging macroeconomic situation, transform the economy and create more jobs.

Mozambique needs to act now.

In search of a suitable development model

A recent SET study argues an important initial step would be to select, and implement, a suitable development model to promote economic transformation and create jobs. Four possible models could be considered.

Mozambique could look to capitalise on its comparative advantage in land and focus on boosting agricultural productivity and developing agro-processing capacity – with strong backward linkages and multiplier effects to agriculture. This may help Mozambique graduate to other sectors in the future, while growth in agricultural productivity could have strong poverty-reducing effects in the short to medium term.

Alternatively, Mozambique could focus on diversifying away from its current dependence on natural resources, and look to utilise the revenues that come from exploiting these resources to transform the economy. This approach has been effective in Indonesia, which has successfully diversified its natural resource-based economy into manufacturing and services.

Diversification into manufacturing, with a focus on export-oriented manufacturing, could drive Mozambique’s transformation. Experiences in Korea, Mauritius, Singapore and Vietnam show how harnessing trade and openness in manufacturing can drive industrialisation and create much-needed employment. The manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia and Rwanda have experienced rapid growth and thus serve as more recent examples of what is possible in Mozambique.

A cross-country study by SET in 2016 indicated Mozambique was among the most promising African countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment into export-based manufacturing. Mozambique boasts a number of comparative advantages – including access to a relatively large pool of labour, a long coastline and significant ports, close proximity to regional markets and duty- and quota-free access into the US for a range of manufactured goods – that could support an export-led manufacturing model. Despite these advantages, the recent performance of Mozambican manufacturing has been weak and the sector still has a largely peripheral role within the economy – accounting for just 0.6% of total employment and contributing less than 10% to total gross value added in 2015 (down from nearly 30% in 1975).

The window of opportunity for Mozambique to follow a transformation model based on developing capacity in labour-intensive manufacturing may be closing quickly as manufacturing becomes increasingly capital- and technology-intensive and less employment-intensive, and as developed countries begin to insource. Again, Mozambique will need to act quickly.

Finally, Mozambique could look to services to promote economic transformation and create jobs. Such an approach would need to focus on improving services productivity and moving into high-productivity services sectors in order to avoid agglomeration in low-skill, low-productivity urban and informal services.

The best way forward may lie in a combination of these models. Our SET study suggests Mozambique could follow a combination of agro-processing-based transformation, diversification away from natural resources (in the style of Indonesia) and diversification into manufacturing (as in Mauritius and, more recently, Ethiopia). Underlying all these strategies is a targeted push towards industrialisation.

How to make it happen

We recently engaged with senior policy-makers in Mozambique on how to make this happen. This included discussions with the minister of economy and finance and the deputy minister of industry and commerce. Our discussions emphasised the need for senior policy-makers to work closely with the private sector to develop a shared vision for Mozambique’s economic transformation, grounded in a strong drive for sustainable job creation. Once delineated, this shared vision will need to be built up in a nation-building project.

Developing capacity for implementation will also be key. At present, significant institutional challenges, ranging from inefficiencies in the use of funds to a lack of coordination and integration of development planning, make policy-making and implementation in Mozambique very difficult. There is thus work to be done to build the required institutional capabilities to make Mozambique’s transformation vision a reality. But there is a window of opportunity right now for working with certain ministries and agencies to support implementation around an economic transformation and job creation agenda. Mozambique’s development partners could play a useful role in aiding this process by engaging in institutional support for key ministries and agencies, which may include the National Directorate for Economic and Financial Studies within the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the newly established Agency for Investment and Export Promotion.

More can be done at other levels too. Ongoing SET research is examining how to improve the outcomes of future investment negotiations for megaprojects to make it possible to harness these to stimulate backward and forward linkages from multinational corporations to local small and medium enterprises. Promoting local content and local linkages to large and megaprojects can help facilitate economic transformation and job creation in Mozambique.

More of this sort of analysis, particularly at the firm level, would help policy-makers better understand the constraints to job creation in Mozambique. Estimates suggest the Mozambican private sector creates only around 18,000 new jobs each year. More needs to be done to facilitate the creation of sufficient new jobs for inclusive growth.

The Government of Mozambique’s existing policies – including the recently announced Industrial Policy and Strategy 2016-2025, the National Employment Policy and the current Five-Year Plan – are insufficient on their own to kick-start manufacturing and higher-value added activities in other sectors, transform the economy and create jobs. Mozambique needs to act now to develop a shared vision and strategy for transforming the economy, focused on boosting the quality of economic growth (so it is less skewed and more inclusive), generating sustained increases in productive employment and facilitating a long-term, sustainable and inclusive reduction in poverty.

Photo credit: John Hogg / World Bank. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

30 October 2017 | The future of manufacturing-led development

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With increasing use of advanced digital technologies in manufacturing, such as 3D printing, robots and cloud computing, the landscape of technology and globalisation patterns is altering. As manufacturing becomes more automated, the criteria of being an attractive production location changes from offering inexpensive labour to lower capital costs and more advanced technology. This suggests that the economic progress in developing countries, who often rely on their comparative advantage in labour-intensive manufacturing, may be at risk.

To discuss how developing countries can adapt to the changing nature of globalisation, this World Bank, DFID, ODI/SET event will hear from Anabel González, Senior Director and Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Senior Economic Advisor in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank’s recent report, ‘Trouble in the Making? The Future of Manufacturing-Led Development’ suggests that while emerging technologies may threaten manufacturing as a pathway for low-income countries to develop, it can also present new opportunities given appropriate policy actions. The report explores policy agenda based on three dimensions; competitiveness, capabilities and connectedness.

For further information or to express your interest in attending this event, please contact Karishma Banga at ODI (k.banga@odi.org.uk).

 

Speakers

His Excellency Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework – Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK

Dirk Willem te Velde – Principal Research Fellow, ODI and Director, SET

Anabel González – Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice at World Bank

Mary Hallward-Driemeier – Senior Economic Advisor, Trade and Competitiveness at World Bank

Nick Lea – Deputy Chief Economist, DFID

Karishma Banga – Researcher, ODI

Simon Maxwell – Senior Associate and former Director, ODI

Jonathan Rosenthal – Africa editor, The Economist

 

Photo credit: © Dominic Chavez/World Bank. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Judith Tyson (ODI) | Three priorities for post-Brexit UK policy on private investment in low-income countries

Judith Tyson (Research Fellow, ODI)
In 2017, the UK government put economic growth at the core of its development policy by publishing its first ever economic development strategy. Concurrently, there was greater focus on the post-Brexit agenda of international opportunities for UK trade and investment. A key part of this agenda is increasing UK trade and investment in low-income countries (LICs) with the dual goal of creating positive development impact and greater opportunities for UK companies. To be able to achieve this dual goal, which represents an opportunity for both the UK and LICs, recent ODI work on private finance suggests there are three key areas of focus in the short term.

Judith Tyson (Research Fellow, ODI)

13 October 2017

In 2017, the UK government put economic growth at the core of its development policy by publishing its first ever economic development strategy. Concurrently, there was greater focus on the post-Brexit agenda of international opportunities for UK trade and investment.

A key part of this agenda is increasing UK trade and investment in low-income countries (LICs) with the dual goal of creating positive development impact and greater opportunities for UK companies.

To be able to achieve this dual goal, which represents an opportunity for both the UK and LICs, recent ODI work on private finance suggests there are three key areas of focus in the short term.

1. Infrastructure as the top priority

Poor infrastructure is a critical constraint to investment in many LICs. This can include expensive and under-supplied electricity and underdeveloped transport, with a lack of paved roads and poor-quality sea and air ports.

Investors often see poor infrastructure as the major issue that undermines their investment appetite. While some can overcome infrastructure constraints through special economic zones, many investors simply must have basic infrastructure in place before they will invest. Working with governments and other donors to establish basic infrastructure must thus be a key priority.

In the UK, CDC Group, the country’s development finance institution, already has a dedicated infrastructure team and, with a new injection of £3.5 billion of capital from the development budget over the coming years, it has the scale to make the required investments.

There is also an opportunity for UK financial firms to participate in infrastructure investment, thus increasing its potential scale. In particular, UK insurers and pension funds could be key investors, given their demand for the asset class (especially in combination with risk mitigation from donors), and the UK’s financial sector can provide the financial services to intermediate investment in the sector.

2. DFID support to a broader range of UK businesses

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has, to date, focused on locally-owned, small- and medium-sized firms. While this approach can deliver useful development impacts, it is less likely to enable UK firms to participate in developing economies or to establish the larger-scale firms needed for LICs to enhance productivity—a key aspect of economic transformation.

Working more closely with UK firms to invest in LICs has the potential to increase development outcomes—such as employment creation and economic deepening and diversification—and provide opportunities for UK firms.

There are two specific aspects of engagement with firms that could be refocused on.

First, large UK companies have established businesses in LICs, most commonly in extractives, agricultural processing, financing and consumer products. Such companies are often among the largest in LICs and provide significant formal employment, tax revenues and benefits to employees (such as housing, healthcare and education).

In some LICs, these businesses also overcome infrastructure and other constraints by building dedicated power and transport infrastructure, and through close relationships with governments. Such strategies have facilitated the development of large-scale businesses in difficult environments for private sector development.

Greater coordination between such firms, DFID and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) could help both maximise the development impact of existing sites and enable the establishment of new ‘greenfield’ sites in LICs where such firms do not currently invest.

Second, LICs need ‘green’ technology transfer to support economic development. For example, there is a need for green power and transport networks.

UK firms are world leaders in such technologies, including in solar- and wind-power generation and battery technologies. However, many such high-tech firms are also medium-sized and lack the finance and capacity to expand their businesses into LICs.

Currently, the Department for International Trade (DIT) offers support for export growth for UK companies. However, for LICs, this support is restricted. For example, the maximum financing available is often small and is subject to restrictive criteria, such as irrevocable letters of credit.

A partnership between DFID and DIT to loosen these criteria and expand the maximum financing for developmentally-important investments by UK companies in LICs is needed. This could include using official development assistance (ODA) to subsidise DIT export finance and insurance, as long as it is not tied aid, and that it is aimed at promoting development.

It could also include DFID using its expertise to advise and partner with UK firms to invest in the difficult business environments in evidence in LICs in ways that also maximise their development impact. The recently announced Invest Africa initiative might offer scope for this.

3. New forums for intra-government coordination are needed

There are many opportunities for ‘win-win’ outcomes for UK firms and LICs. There have already been some excellent UK initiatives to support these; for example, DIT have enhanced investment insurance and increased export finance for South Africa. Such support should be extended to LICs.

In addition, because of the difficult investment environments in LICs, there is also a need for greater alignment and closer coordination between UK government departments (including DFID, FCO and DIT). This should include both high-level coordination on strategy and lower-level processes to drive the ‘nitty-gritty’ required for matchmaking, execution of individual projects and in-country support, as well as ODA-based support to enhance the development impact of UK firms.

Such closer alignment across departments promises to deliver results that are greater than the sum of their parts, for both the UK and for LICs.

Photo credit: Arne Hoel / World Bank. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Local Content Policies and Backward Integration in Nigeria

Neil McCulloch, Neil Balchin, Max Mendez-Parra and Kingsley Onyeka, October 2017
Nigeria has experienced rapid but low-quality growth over the past decade. This has been accompanied by limited structural change and little economic transformation. The share of manufacturing in Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is low relative to that in comparator countries, and the country’s heavy reliance on oil and gas exports has meant little attention has been paid to developing the manufacturing sector or diversifying into more complex products. This report, produced in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and launched at the Group’s annual Economic Summit in Abuja, analyses the different local policies options to increase backward and forward linkages in the Nigerian manufacturing sector.

Neil McCulloch, Neil Balchin, Max Mendez-Parra and Kingsley Onyeka, October 2017

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Nigeria has experienced rapid but low-quality growth over the past decade. This has been accompanied by limited structural change and little economic transformation. The share of manufacturing in Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is low relative to that in comparator countries, and the country’s heavy reliance on oil and gas exports has meant little attention has been paid to developing the manufacturing sector or diversifying into more complex products.

There is a clear need for greater diversification of the Nigerian economy to promote quality growth, economic transformation and employment. This can be aided by the development of value chains that facilitate higher-value added processing and manufacturing activities within Nigeria and make greater use of locally produced inputs and services in production through the creation of backward linkages. The latter can have positive effects in terms of stimulating economic development; promoting the development of local industries; creating economic linkages; building local capacity, capabilities and technologies; developing skills within the workforce; boosting employment; and minimising capital flight. Greater use of local content and more extensive backward linkages can also help Nigeria avoid the resource curse.

This report, produced in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and launched at the Group’s annual Economic Summit in Abuja, analyses the different local policies options to increase backward and forward linkages in the Nigerian manufacturing sector. This includes a review of the legislation that supports local content policies in the country, a literature review to identify how said policies have operated in different sectors in Nigeria as well as international experience in comparable countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, firm data to quantify backward integration in Nigeria, and finally, policy recommendations for the Nigerian government to move forward on this agenda.

Photo credit: ©IFPRI/Milo Mitchell. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI) | Fostering a debate around practical industrialisation models in Tanzania

Dirk Willem te Velde (Principal Research Fellow, ODI)
ODI recently hosted two book launches, on the importance of industrialisation in Africa and on Tanzania’s future industrialisation. These books, one by Justin Lin and the other by Ali Mufuruki and three fellow Tanzanian authors, reiterate the importance of stimulating a debate around industrialisation in Tanzania.

Dirk Willem te Velde (Principal Research Fellow, ODI)

9 October 2017

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) recently hosted two book launches, on the importance of industrialisation in Africa and on Tanzania’s future industrialisation. These books, one by Justin Lin and the other by Ali Mufuruki and three fellow Tanzanian authors, reiterate the importance of stimulating a debate around industrialisation in Tanzania.

The need for active but pragmatic approaches to economic development

Justin Lin, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, recently published Beating the odds: jump-starting developing economies (a book co-authored with Celestin Monga, the Chief Economist at the African Development Bank), which discusses how poor countries can master the art of performing economic miracles, with the implication that, regardless of any poor preconditions, any country can develop as long as it does the right thing. This right thing is not necessarily to follow prescriptions such as those on a “good governance” agenda, or to concede that poor preconditions block any chance of progress, but rather to focus on appropriate industries and support structural transformation by overcoming market and government failures and engaging in a process of technological upgrading and learning.

The discussion points to the need for strategic industrial policies and sector approaches that are rooted in the specifics of a country. It supports the development of special economic zones (SEZs), investment in infrastructure and foreign competition, as well as emphasising the importance of political leadership. Pragmatic approaches are key. For example, China learnt to focus on SEZs by looking at experiences in Ireland (Shannon) and Singapore in the 1980s.

The strategic yet pragmatic approach has worked in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Do we see this pragmatic view in Tanzania?

The need for a strong developmental and experimental state in Tanzania

Tanzania’s industrialisation journey 2016-2056: From an agrarian to a modern industrialised state in forty years is an excellent book that will be relevant in supporting a pragmatic debate on industrialisation in Tanzania. The book, written by Ali Mufuruki, Rahim Mawji, Gilam Kasiga and Moremi Marwa, deals with similar issues to Justin Lin’s book but is focused specifically on Tanzania and has come from a very different background. Mufuruki is a renowned Tanzanian business leader, in his position as head of Infosys, a successful information and communication technology company.

The book contains a number of excellent proposals for the future of industrialisation in Tanzania. The key message is that the country needs a strong developmental state, which, for example, actively plans and coordinates improvements to infrastructure and education and develops SEZs and new technology.

Tanzania does not currently have a strong centralised agency that facilitates line ministries to execute plans, as seems to be the case in Ethiopia. Such an agency is essential, for example if the state wants to provide strong signals to the private sector. Mufuruki’s book puts faith in the Planning Commission, with which the SET programme has been working: ‘If our nation is a corporation, this agency is the Office of the CEO.’ The final paragraph of the book suggests we back the Commission but also warns that we need to monitor progress.

Monitoring will indeed be important. Taking into account the complex political economy in Tanzania, we cannot expect everything to happen perfectly at once. So it is refreshing to read Mufuruki’s advice:

‘Therefore starting small and experimenting would enable us to fail fast, learn quickly, and change things around rapidly and as necessary, and after fine-tuning the model over a period of time, we can then scale with higher quality across the nation instead of instantly scaling across the nation perhaps at a lower quality given limited implementation and financial capabilities, being unable to fine-tune and manage efficiently when facing challenges, and thereby ending up with a mess of a national industrialisation programme.’

The advice relates well to what we spoke about during the African Transformation Forum. SET has also written extensively about the need to experiment. The general emphasis in the book on nation-building around the economic transformation project is welcome, but there is also a danger that Tanzania will think only one model can work and, as a consequence, will fail to embrace a pragmatic approach.

Contours of the Government of Tanzania’s approach to industrialisation

Through the Planning Commission, the Government of Tanzania (GoT) has developed two important documents – a second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) and an accompanying implementation strategy – to guide the country’s ongoing push towards industrialisation. These are good first steps. However, in order to meet its objectives, Tanzania urgently needs to hold a debate on the practicalities of industrialisation, to monitor how well the objectives are being achieved and to undertake learning and corrective actions where needed.

GoT launched the FYDP II, called Nurturing industrialisation for economic transformation and human development, in 2016. It is a sound document. Based in part on background work by think tanks such as REPOA and ODI, it has a dual focus on growth and transformation, and poverty reduction. The Plan emphasises interventions to promote industrialisation, including establishing SEZs/export processing zones and industrial parks, strengthening research and development, promoting local content, developing capacity and undertaking a number of flagship infrastructure projects (incl. for example railway projects).

Over the course of the past year, GoT has also been discussing an implementation strategy for the FYDP II. This is a promising new step, especially in comparison with progress made under the FYDP I. It prioritises three value chains (cotton to textiles, leather to leather products and pharmaceuticals) on the basis of their employment creation prospects; the opportunities they present to create local value chains with downstream value-added processing; and their potential to supply rapidly expanding markets. It also prioritises SEZs and industrial parks to support industrial production and export-led industrialisation and to boost Tanzania’s competitiveness and urban development management. Attempts have been made to include private sector input in devising the strategy – the ESRF and ODI organised a public consultation to include private sector voices such as the CEO Roundtable.

In search of appropriate industrialisation models

While these government documents express a new level of ambition, they need to be backed by a realistic approach to implementation. Unfortunately, Tanzania is still struggling to find an appropriate model in this regard. Despite earlier plans to grow the contribution of manufacturing to gross domestic product, this share has continued to decline in recent years.

Experience tells us that implementation of an industrialisation plan can be achieved neither through a laissez-faire approach nor by means of complete public control and command. Instead, Tanzania’s industrialisation objectives require actors to work together and coalesce around a number of industrial policy functions. Effective state–business relations are crucial to making industrialisation a reality because most manufacturing investment and jobs are realised sustainably by the (local) private sector. Government can facilitate, regulate and coordinate, actively as is the case in Ethiopia and Rwanda, but should not take control of production or engage in loss-making production. The state needs to lead but should also experiment, learn and adjust. In this regard, the books by Justin Lin and Ali Mufuruki can help Tanzania navigate the next decade of support for industrialisation.

 

Photo credit: Mitchell Maher / International Food Policy Institute (CC license)

Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI) | Supporting Kenya’s industrialisation: Mombasa port, SEZs and targeted development cooperation

Dirk Willem te Velde (Principal Research Fellow, ODI)
The SET programme has highlighted Kenya’s lagging industrialisation, characterised by falling manufacturing to GDP ratios in the past few decades. Nonetheless, there is a real opportunity in the coming few years to get it right, doubling manufacturing output and creating 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the country. This will require implementation of a range of appropriate policies.

Dirk Willem te Velde (Principal Research Fellow, ODI)

29 September 2017

The SET programme has highlighted Kenya’s lagging industrialisation, characterised by falling manufacturing to GDP ratios in the past few decades. Nonetheless, there is a real opportunity in the coming few years to get it right, doubling manufacturing output and creating 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the country. This will require implementation of a range of appropriate policies.

The SET programme worked with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, in consultation with others, to propose 10 policy priorities, ranging from target investment climate reforms to improved skills, better financing and quality infrastructure. After a successful engagement strategy, political parties signed up to these policies during a meeting in July 2017, and they are expected to carry this initiative forward to the upcoming election.

One specific constraint is the lack of quality transport infrastructure in terms of roads and ports underpinning the transport corridor between Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Kampala and Kigali. Of course, any concerns should not ignore the considerable progress that has already been made.

For example, with support from the UK DFID-funded (other donors also contribute) programme TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), the port of Mombasa is becoming more efficient and relying more on electronic systems. I myself witnessed the offloading of a DFID-funded crane, which will make the port more efficient and greener. A more efficient port has contributed to an 12% increase in cargo in the first half of 2017 (compared to the same period the previous year).

In the past, CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, invested in Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd through Actis, but it exited this in 2016, citing success including exceeded performance measures.

Supported by TMEA, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is using a dashboard of performance indicators that show, for example, that average port days went from 4 in 2012 to 2.9 in 2016. The average transport costs for a 20ft container from Mombasa reduced by a third from $2.9/km in 2011 to $2/km in 2015.

More can be done to reduce transport costs for a 20ft container to meet the middle-income country average of $1/km and help Kenya industrialise. China has funded the new standard gauge railway, which will start operating freight trains later this year, with possible knock-on effects for capacity and costs along the Nairobi–Mombasa corridor. Japan is financing a road, opening up the area to the south of Mombasa. There are also plans for an expressway between Mombasa and Nairobi (to be constructed in six years by Bechtel with support from UK export finance and with the aim of reducing road travel time from 10 to 4 hours).

There are also planned investments in the port itself. The European Investment Bank with others is considering a $200 million loan to modernise berths, and Japan will be lending $350 million for a second phase around the second container terminal. Much port finance has been leveraged through the efforts of TMEA (which has an office in the port), which has coordinated donors through a donor conference and a resulting port charter. The charter brought together a range of relevant public and private associations and involved a number of performance contracts in the government of Kenya.

A real opportunity (and at the same time a challenge) is to develop export supply capacity to make full use of the lower trading costs. TMEA and the KPA have plans to develop the Dongo Kundul Special Economic Zone around Mombasa to do just this. Increased investment in productive capacity, especially in agro-processing, but also garments and metal engineering, will create jobs, turn Mombasa into an export port and put Kenya on a more transformational footing. The new road infrastructure and increased port efficiency should make export firms more competitive. The KPA has already reserved land for the zone, but coordinating its construction and financing will be a challenge.

There is a further opportunity for UK development cooperation instruments to help. Such assistance could build on successes already achieved, with the UK also benefiting from cheaper imports (directly or indirectly through other countries) and potentially more exports and investment. This is one example how the UK (through aid, development finance and export finance) can lock together the aims of infrastructure development, industrialisation and job creation in Kenya with benefits for the UK and elsewhere.

Photo credit: Kenya Ports Authority (www.kpa.co.ke).

14 September 2017 | A UK-Liberia partnership: investing in infrastructure, energy and agriculture

On 14th September 2017, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Liberia National Investment Commission (LNIC), hosted a workshop and networking event in London. The event’s aims were two-fold: firstly, to explore the state of Liberia’s economy and the potential opportunities and challenges for foreign investors, and secondly, to facilitate relationship-building between Liberia and UK-based international investors seeking to opportunities to support development in the sub-Saharan African country.

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On 14th September 2017, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Liberia National Investment Commission (LNIC), hosted a workshop and networking event in London. The event’s aims were two-fold: firstly, to explore the state of Liberia’s economy and the potential opportunities and challenges for foreign investors, and secondly, to facilitate relationship-building between Liberia and UK-based international investors seeking to opportunities to support development in the sub-Saharan African country.

The ODI was honoured to welcome to the event several members of the Liberian Government,  as well as His Excellency Dr Mohammed Sheriff, the Liberian Ambassador to the UK, and David Belgrove OBE, British Ambassador to Liberia, representatives from CDC and over 30 private investors based in the UK.

Presentations from LNIC and Liberian Government representatives outlined Liberia’s past and current challenges, promising recent economic growth, and the wealth of promising financing opportunities for investors across agriculture and agri-business, infrastructure, water, energy, manufacturing and tourism.

Information on investment opportunities can be found within the event report, available for download above. For further detail, please contact Quinton Tunis at the LNIC (tunisq@gmail.com).

Photo credit: Albert K. Jaja.

5 September 2017 | Justin Yifu Lin: How to jump-start developing economies

For decades, low-income countries have been trying to catch up with the economic progress made by industrialised, high-income nations, but few have succeeded. So how can low-income countries jump-start their economies and achieve the structural transformation that can create jobs and improve livelihoods? To discuss this issue, this event hears from leading development economist, former chief economist for the World Bank and advisor to Chinese and African governments, Professor Justin Lin. Exploring themes from two of his recently published books, ‘Beating the Odds: Jump-Starting Developing Economies’ and ‘Going Beyond Aid: Development Cooperation for Structural Transformation’.

 

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For decades, low-income countries have been trying to catch up with the economic progress made by industrialised, high-income nations, but few have succeeded. So how can low-income countries jump-start their economies and achieve the structural transformation that can create jobs and improve livelihoods?

To discuss this issue, this event heard from leading development economist, former chief economist for the World Bank and advisor to Chinese and African governments, Professor Justin Lin. Exploring themes from two of his recently published books, ‘Beating the Odds: Jump-Starting Developing Economies’ and ‘Going Beyond Aid: Development Cooperation for Structural Transformation’, Lin seeks to dispel a range of ideas that are commonly thought to be helping or impeding developing economies. ‘Beating the Odds’ explains what is wrong with mainstream development thinking and offers a practical blueprint for moving poor countries out of the low-income trap regardless of their circumstances. ‘Going Beyond Aid’, furthermore, argues that traditional development aid is inadequate to address the bottlenecks for the structural transformation these countries badly need.

Drawing on the successful experiences of countries such as China and South Korea and the new ideas from emerging market economies such as Brazil and India, this event presents a new narrative to broaden the debate around economic development, and the ways in which traditional aid delivery helps or hinders it.

Chair

Dirk Willem te Velde @DWteVelde  – Principal Research Fellow and Head, International Economic Development Group,ODI

Speakers

Justin Lin – former World Bank Chief Economist

Melinda Bohannon @MelindaBohannon – Deputy Director for Growth & Resilience, UK Department for International Development (DFID)

 

Photo credit: World Bank via Flickr

Sonia Hoque (ODI) | Ethiopia’s economic transformation and job creation: the role of Hawassa Industrial Park

Sonia Hoque (Programme & Operations Manager, ODI)
In the quest for faster industrialisation and economic transformation, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have established a number of special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks. At the ACET-ODI Light Manufacturing in Africa Chapter launch on 5 June 2017 (part of the Pan-African Coalition for Transformation, PACT), these zones were a hot topic. Given past stigma around SEZs foreign investors, participants from SSA were keen to learn from each other, and in particular from Ethiopia.

Sonia Hoque  (Programme & Operations Manager, ODI)

24 August 2017

In the quest for faster industrialisation and economic transformation, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have established a number of special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks. At the ACET-ODI Light Manufacturing in Africa Chapter launch on 5 June 2017 (part of the Pan-African Coalition for Transformation, PACT), these zones were a hot topic. Given past stigma around the quality and attractiveness of these zones to foreign investors, participants from around SSA were keen to learn from each other, and in particular from Ethiopia. The ‘immediate success’ of Huajian Shoe Factory in Ethiopia’s Eastern Industrial Park and sustained high growth in foreign direct investment (up 46% to $3.2bn in 2016, despite a fall of 3% in total in Africa in the same year) has caught the attention of peers in the region.

It is easy to see why – when turning a corner in the developing city of Hawassa, the last thing an unknowing visitor would expect to see is a brand-new modern manufacturing fortress. Boasting over 400,000m² of factory floor space, and expected to generate 60,000 jobs and $1bn in exports by the end of 2018, the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park of the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) is a shining example of how to do SEZs well. International investors are attracted to Ethiopia, keen to take advantage of its cheap labour costs and modern technological resources which are needed to produce low-cost, high-quality garments and textiles competitively for export. Hawassa Industrial Park, which was up-and-running in just nine months, offers important lessons on how to set up successful SEZs: namely that financial incentives alone are not enough to attract investors – coordination of various aspects on both practical and institutional levels, by a government committed to a broader vision of industrialisation and manufacturing growth, is key.

Getting the conditions right

Two years ago at the Investing in Africa Forum in Addis Ababa, Minister Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, stated past SEZs in Africa were “missing the ‘basics’ such as power, water and one-stop services, and were not aligned with national development strategies.” Representatives from government and the private sector in African countries agreed on a number of conditions that need to be met to successfully attract investment, create productive jobs and generate positive spillovers into the local economy. These included a clear strategy integrated with national development goals, careful planning, and high-level leadership and coordination. In Ethiopia, the IPDC has visibly strived to meet these and is rewarded in Hawassa Park with full utilisation of its 52 factory sheds by 17 companies including investors from Hong Kong, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Spain and the USA. After beginning with 37 sheds, 15 additional sheds were built in response to high demand. Prospective new investors are carefully selected by the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC). The demonstration effect is undeniable too – the presence of PVH, a producer of iconic American luxury apparel, signals to other investors that this Park is capable of supporting high-quality light manufacturing.

Hawassa Industrial Park is made up of four main elements which are carefully planned and integrated with 50km of underground piping: factories, housing units for expats, a water treatment plant and a textile mill (currently the largest in Ethiopia) which will eventually supply 100% of the textile needs for the Park’s incumbent companies. The latter is a key aspect of the Government’s plans for vertical integration and will benefit the country’s textile industry overall.

Reliable energy supply continues to be a major challenge for African industrialisation – average downtime in African SEZs is reportedly 11 times higher than non-African ones. To meet energy demands, the Hawassa Industrial Park is currently served by a 19-MW mobile substation, but it will eventually be supplied directly to the Park via a dedicated 200-megawatt (MW) substation (in comparison to the power supply for the rest of the city which totals just 75-MW).

However, modern and advanced facilities are not enough to attract manufacturing companies to African SEZs. At the PACT launch event, Pan Li, COO of the Made in Africa initiative, stated that prospective manufacturing investors want clarity on policies, strong commitment from country governments, and dislike uncertainty. To this end, the EIC is solely responsible for selecting investors and drawing up a strategy for all industries in the Park, and works closely with the Prime Minister’s office, which shows commitment at the highest levels to investors considering Ethiopia as their next manufacturing location. “Investors are attracted by strong institutions in Ethiopia, rather than just financial incentives” stated the EIC’s Deputy Commissioner, Belachew Fikre at the PACT event.

It is also well-known that simpler processes for setting up operations are attractive to foreign investors. Mindful of this, Ethiopia has created a one-stop institutional service with the EIC supporting new companies with banking, visa and immigration facilities, import/export licenses, work permits, and customs clearance, all of which helps speed up decision making and can reduce set-up costs.

Location, location, location

At almost 300km south of Addis Ababa, the selection of Hawassa, a relatively remote city, for an industrial park may be surprising to some. An environmentally-concerned observer may be troubled by the potential for contaminating the adjacent Lake Awassa, but the eco-friendly Park operates a zero-liquid discharge facility and strict conservation principles. Rather, the main pull of the city was the availability of the final factor for production that manufacturers need – labour. With 5 million people living within a 50km radius of the city (mostly of working age), manufacturers setting up in the Park can draw on an abundant supply of labour, something that is often challenging outside of capitals in large, sparsely populated African countries. The Park will generate approximately 60,000 jobs in Phase 1 and approximately 80% of those employed in the Park are women, which is significant from a social development impact perspective.

Challenges remain for investors and factory managers

Perhaps unsurprisingly, under the impressive veneer of the Hawassa Industrial Park, teething problems exist. Foreign factory managers have faced on-going issues with power failures and complain of difficulties sourcing essential supplies locally, such as stationery, instead choosing to import them (potentially at a higher cost). The cost of transport to and from the Park is also high, with one factory manager claiming the cost of transporting goods from the port in Djibouti to Hawassa is twice that of shipping across the Indian Ocean. But perhaps most concerning are the reported labour issues: high absenteeism as workers (reportedly) take unreasonable advantage of labour regulations favouring employees (taking bereavement leave for very distant acquaintances, leave for national exams they are not really sitting etc.), high turnover as workers move to other factories once sufficiently skilled, and even issues with ‘work ethic’ of employees who are unfamiliar with formal working practice and etiquette (‘soft skills’). The biggest qualm seems to be the compulsory hiring process – whereby workers sourced through a government job centre in the catchment area are sent to work in factories, and managers have little or no choice in selection beyond filtering workers by the simple skills ‘grade’ assigned at the job centre. If unaddressed, this presents a real risk to the long-term success of Hawassa Industrial Park – cheap labour may be attractive to garment manufacturers, but workers must also be productive and adequately skilled. The commitment shown by the Ethiopian Government so far must continue to ensure the quality and supply of labour meets the new demand by foreign companies.

The fact remains however, that Ethiopia has demonstrated that coordination and the presence of a long-term vision are important ingredients for building high-quality SEZs quickly. These, in turn, can create high numbers of transformational jobs, whilst also generating crucial positive spillover effects to benefit the local economy. To this end, other governments in SSA could already learn much from the Ethiopian experience to date.

 

Sonia Hoque is the Programme & Operations Manager of the Supporting Economic Transformation programme at ODI.

On 5 June 2017, ODI and ACET convened a meeting on Light Manufacturing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. An event report can be viewed online.

 

 

Photo credit (all rights reserved): Hawassa Industrial Park, SET Programme, Overseas Development Institute ©

Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP II): Briefing Papers

Neil Balchin and Dirk Willem te Velde, August 2017
Following extensive work done by the SET Programme on supporting the preparation of Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP II), SET has continued to support the Planning Commission within the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MoFP). The Government of Tanzania launched the FYDP II – Nurturing Industrialisation for Economic Transformation and Human Development in 2016, and is currently finalising the FYDP II Implementation Strategy, for which SET has provided continued support.

Neil Balchin and Dirk Willem te Velde, August 2017

DOWNLOAD FYDPII SUMMARY BRIEF

DOWNLOAD FYDPII IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY SUMMARY BRIEF

DOWNLOAD FYDPII IMPLEMENTATION – LINKING ACTORS BRIEF

Following extensive work done by the SET Programme on supporting the preparation of Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP II), SET has continued to support the Planning Commission within the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MoFP).

The Government of Tanzania launched the FYDP II – Nurturing Industrialisation for Economic Transformation and Human Development in 2016, and is currently finalising the FYDP II Implementation Strategy, for which SET has provided continued support.

These three briefings cover:

1)  A summary of FYDP II  published last year

2) A summary of FYDP II implementation strategy including actions and financing, and progress so far

3) A briefing linking FYDP II and the implementation strategies to other important actors (including donors/private sector).

The briefings can also be found on the website for our partner in this study, REPOA, a leading policy research think tank in Tanzania.

 

Photo credit: SET Programme, Overseas Development Institute ©