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Global value chains in the least developed countries of the world: threats and opportunities for local producers


  • Carlo Pietrobelli


Global value chains (GVCs) often represent one of the few options for local firms and suppliers in developing countries to get access to larger markets and to new technologies. While the potential benefits from GVCs for medium-income developing countries are well documented, the studies dealing with the impact of GVCs on low-income, poorer countries are scarce. To explore these issues, the paper uses primary and secondary empirical evidence and discusses how GVCs may affect upgrading, technological capabilities and competitiveness in the least developed countries (LDCs). This paper suggests that the opportunities exist, but are hardly utilised, and depend on a number of circumstances that may or may not occur. Public policies have an important role to play to improve the prospects of leveraging these opportunities and raising the probability of a positive effect on local firms. This paper focuses on the prospects of upgrading in natural resource-intensive LDCs from their participation in GVCs, and argues in favour of capacity building for policy formulation and implementation, strengthening the national standards infrastructure, defining the research priorities and disseminating research results to small- and medium-sized enterprises, and suggests that cluster-based development policies may offer better perspectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Pietrobelli, 2008. "Global value chains in the least developed countries of the world: threats and opportunities for local producers," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(4), pages 459-481.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijtlid:v:1:y:2008:i:4:p:459-481

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander BORDA-RODRIGUEZ & Sara VICARI, 2015. "Coffee Co-operatives in Malawi: Building Resilience Through Innovation," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(2), pages 317-338, June.
    2. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s13132-015-0263-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Pietrobelli, Carlo & Rabellotti, Roberta, 2011. "Global Value Chains Meet Innovation Systems: Are There Learning Opportunities for Developing Countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1261-1269, July.
    4. Carlo Pietrobelli, 2009. "Dualism and Power in Agriculture Scientific and Technological Development," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
    5. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:167-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lizbeth Navas-Alemán & Carlo Pietrobelli & Marco Kamiya, 2012. "Inter-Firm Linkages and Finance in Value Chains," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4067, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Debapriya Bhattacharya & Khondaker Golam Moazzem, 2013. "Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the Global Value Chain (GVC): Trends, Determinants and Challenges," CPD Working Paper 104, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
    8. repec:eee:tefoso:v:122:y:2017:i:c:p:215-230 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gehl Sampath, Padmashree & Vallejo, Bertha, 2018. "Global Value Chains and Upgrading: What, When and How?," MERIT Working Papers 016, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).


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