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Enterprise development in Zambia: reflections on the missing middle


  • Christine Phillips

    (University of Reading Business School, UK)

  • Seema Bhatia-Panthaki

    (University of Reading Business School, UK)


This paper is the result of the analysis of 200 interviews with Zambian enterprise owners during the summer of 2006. It examines the reasons for the lack of growth of micro and small firms and the resulting 'missing middle' in Zambia. The study finds that most enterprise owners are risk takers, have bounded rationality in terms of their understanding of market structure, conduct and performance and rely on inappropriate channels for their information. A second group of enterprise owners who are less risk preferring, and do not have aspirations in terms of firm growth is also identified. Most enterprises in these two groups do not operate on a growth trajectory. Finally there is a very small group of enterprise owners who are truly entrepreneurial. Policy recommendations address issues concerning the need for differentiated targeting to support firm sustainability and growth. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Phillips & Seema Bhatia-Panthaki, 2007. "Enterprise development in Zambia: reflections on the missing middle," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 793-804.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:19:y:2007:i:6:p:793-804 DOI: 10.1002/jid.1402

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2006. "Bank supervision and corruption in lending," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2131-2163, November.
    2. Marina Della-Giusta & Christine Phillips, 2006. "Women entrepreneurs in the Gambia: challenges and opportunities," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(8), pages 1051-1064.
    3. World Bank, 2005. "World Development Indicators 2005," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12426.
    4. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12425 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Micheline Goedhuys & Leo Sleuwaegen, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and growth of entrepreneurial firms in cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 123-145.
    6. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafcharnps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willern Gunning & Jean Habarurema & Anders Isaksson & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Pattillo & Mans So, 1999. "Exports of African manufactures: macro policy and firm behaviour," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 53-71.
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    Cited by:

    1. Girum Abebe, 2015. "State-inducement Versus Self-initiation: A Comparative Study of Micro and Small Enterprises in Ethiopia," Working Papers 013, Ethiopian Development Research Institute.
    2. D'Espallier, Bert & Guérin, Isabelle & Mersland, Roy, 2011. "Women and Repayment in Microfinance: A Global Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 758-772, May.

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