IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data

  • Benn Eifert

    ()

  • Alan Gelb
  • Vijaya Ramachandran
Registered author(s):

    This paper ties together the macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence on the competitiveness of African manufacturing sectors. The conceptual framework is based on the newer theories that see the evolution of comparative advantage as influenced by the business climate -- a key public good -- and by external economies between clusters of firms entering in related sectors. Macroeconomic data from purchasing power parity (PPP), though imprecisely measured, estimates confirms that Africa is high-cost relative to its levels of income and productivity. This finding is compared with firm-level evidence from surveys undertaken for Investment Climate Assessments in 2000-2004. These confirm a pattern of generally low productivity, and also suggest the importance of high indirect costs and business-environment-related losses in depressing the productivity of African firms relative to those in other countries. There are differences between African countries, however, with some showing evidence of a stronger business community and better business climate. Finally, the paper adopts a political-economy perspective on the prospects for reform of Africa’s business climate, considering African attitudes to business and the fractured nature of African business sectors as between indigenous, minority and foreign investors. The latter have far higher productivity and a greater propensity to export; however, Africa’s difficult business climate and the tendency to overcome this by working in ethnic networks slows new entry and may decrease the incentives of key parts of the business community form constituting an aggressive pressure group for reform. Even though reforms are moving forward in several countries, this slows their impact and raises the possibility that countries settle into a low-productivity equilibrium. The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings for reforms to boost the competitiveness and diversification of African economies.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2732
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 56.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 49 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:56
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:56. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Roodman)

    The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask David Roodman to update the entry or send us the correct address

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.