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Skills, investment and exports from manufacturing firms in Africa

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  • Mans Soderbom
  • Francis Teal

Abstract

It has been argued that Africa will not be able to export manufactures as it lacks the necessary skills. Without an ability to export there will only be an incentive to invest in the sector if domestic demand grows rapidly. Comparative data for four African countries - the Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe - shows that in the early 1990s investment in manufacturing remained very low. The micro evidence on manufacturing exports is wholly consistent with the macro in suggesting these are, for most African countries, negligible. An exception is Zimbabwe. The paper uses a longer time series from Ghana to ask how skills have impacted on manufacturing investment and exports in the 1990s. Two dimensions of skills are defined and measured. The first is that observable in the education and experience of the workforce. The second is the underlying efficiency with which the firm operates. The latter is shown to be a significant determinant of both investment and exports. These exports are relatively capital intensive; unskilled labour intensive exports remain negligible. Possible reasons for these outcomes are discussed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2000-08.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2000-08

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Keywords: African;

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Cited by:
  1. Neil Rankin & M�ns Söderbom & Francis Teal, 2006. "Exporting from Manufacturing Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(4), pages 671-687, December.
  2. Bigsten, Arne & Gebreeyesus, Mulu, 2008. "Firm Productivity and Exports: Evidence from Ethiopian manufacturing," Working Papers in Economics 303, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Adeoti, John Olatunji, 2012. "Technology-related factors as determinants of export potential of Nigerian manufacturing firms," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 487-503.
  4. Waldkirch, Andreas & Ofosu, Andra, 2008. "Foreign Presence, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Ghana," MPRA Paper 8577, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "The Informal Sector in Developing Countries: Output, Assets and Employment," Working Paper Series RP2006/130, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Marcel Fafchamps, 2007. "Human Capital, Exports, and Wages," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-069, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Shyamal K. Chowdhury, 2006. "Investments in ICT-capital and economic performance of small and medium scale enterprises in East Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 533-552.
  8. Shyamal Chowdhury & Susanna Wolf, 2004. "Use of ICTs and the Economic Performance of SMEs in East Africa," Microeconomics 0408004, EconWPA.
  9. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & M�ns Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Z, 2004. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 115-141.
  10. Edwards, Lawrence & Balchin, Neil, 2008. "Trade related business climate and manufacturing export performance in Africa: A firm-level analysis," MPRA Paper 32863, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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