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Performance of Manufacturing Firms in Africa : An Empirical Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Hinh T. Dinh
  • George R.G. Clarke

Abstract

This book sheds light on the characteristics of formal and informal manufacturing firms in Africa by comparing these firms with firms in other regions. Drawing on two data sources, the authors find that there is a very low share of manufacturing in GDP in Africa and in African exports. Most African manufacturing firms are informal. These firms are also smaller than firms in other regions and few export. Labor productivity is low in Africa relative to other regions, but this may be because of the more challenging environment - with the lack of physical infrastructure, the heavy burden of business regulation, and other issues. However, after accounting for these differences, the authors find that firms in Sub-Saharan Africa appear more, not less, productive than firms elsewhere. This analysis suggests that improving the business environment might allow firms to enhance their performance. However, given the pervasive distortions in the business environment and the limited resources at the disposal of most African countries, Africa cannot and should not wait until the business environment becomes healthier before growing a more viable manufacturing sector. The book shows that binding constraints vary by country, by sector, and by firm size. Therefore, countries should identify the constraints in the most promising sectors and adopt policies designed specifically to remove these constraints. The evidence in this book overwhelmingly dispels the false notion of Africa's inability to compete globally in manufacturing goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Hinh T. Dinh & George R.G. Clarke, 2012. "Performance of Manufacturing Firms in Africa : An Empirical Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11959, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:11959
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    File URL: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/11959/717320PUB0Publ067869B09780821396322.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paolo Angelini & Andrea Generale, 2008. "On the Evolution of Firm Size Distributions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 426-438, March.
    2. Carmen Pagés-Serra & Reyes Aterido & Mary Hallward-Driemeier, 2007. "Investment Climate and Employment Growth: The Impact of Access to Finance, Corruption and Regulations Across Firms," Research Department Publications 4559, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2004. "Business environment and firm entry : Evidence from international data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3232, The World Bank.
    4. Arne Bigsten & Mans Söderbom, 2006. "What Have We Learned from a Decade of Manufacturing Enterprise Surveys in Africa?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 241-265.
    5. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
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    8. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Dinh, Hinh, 2013. "From Imitation to Innovation: Public Policy for Industrial Transformation," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 115, pages 1-8, May.
    2. repec:ocp:dbbook:9-789954-971727 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Subash Sasidharan & S. N. Rajesh Raj, 2014. "The Growth Barriers of Informal Sector Enterprises: Evidence from India," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 52(4), pages 351-375, December.
    4. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & Jelenic, Michael, 2014. "Access to Finance, Product Innovation, and Middle-Income Growth Traps," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 137, pages 1-7, March.
    5. Headey, Derek, 2015. "The Evolution of Global Farming Land: Facts and Interpretations," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212027, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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