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The tropical timber industry in Gabon: a forward linkages approach to industrialisation

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  • Terheggen, Anne

Abstract

The breadth and depth of forward linkages in the tropical timber industry of Gabon is a result of three inter-acting drivers: the nature of final markets, ownership of production, and sector-specific policy. The Forestry Code set explicit domestic processing targets built on the trajectory of French processors. Still, while this is theoretically in line with European market demands for wood products, the forced beneficiation resulted in Chinese, Malaysian, and Gabonese producers, whose prime activity is the exploitation of logs for processing industries in China, to limit their participation in forward linkages to the sawnwood sub-sector, characterised by low entry barriers and negative producer margins. Gabon's comparative advantage lies in the exploitation of its natural resource tropical timber for export markets. Logging is also a 'superior' technology allowing the appropriation of resource rents. These are largely diluted in processing due to production cost penalties such as high reservation wages, inadequate infrastructure, lack of skills, and the political economy of Gabon. The conflict between the envisaged forward linkages approach to industrialisation (in light of falling oil reserves), industry actors' market focuses, motivations, and capabilities, as well as conclusions drawn about comparative advantages and linkage-blockages, has significant consequences for industrial development.

Suggested Citation

  • Terheggen, Anne, 2011. "The tropical timber industry in Gabon: a forward linkages approach to industrialisation," MPRA Paper 37976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37976
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaplinsky, Raphael, 2015. "Technological upgrading in global value chains and clusters and their contribution to sustaining economic growth in low and middle income economies," MERIT Working Papers 2015-027, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Wenbin Huang & Andreas Wilkes & Xiufang Sun & Anne Terheggen, 2013. "Who is importing forest products from Africa to China? An analysis of implications for initiatives to enhance legality and sustainability," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 339-354, April.
    3. Guney, Selin, 2015. "An Analysis of the Pass-Through of Exchange Rates in Tropical Forest Product Markets: A Smooth Transition Approach," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205107, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Raphael Kaplinsky & Mike Morris, 2016. "Thinning and Thickening: Productive Sector Policies in The Era of Global Value Chains," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 28(4), pages 625-645, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    emerging economies; China; Gabon; timber sector; global value chains; trade; industrialization; resource-based growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • L73 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Forest Products
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • L78 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General

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