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Andreoni, Antonio, Mondliwa, Pamela, Roberts, Simon and Tregenna, Fiona (2021) 'Towards a New Industrial Policy for Structural Transformation.' In: Andreoni, Antonio, Mondliwa, Pamela, Roberts, Simon and Tregenna, Fiona, (eds.), Structural Transformation in South Africa: The Challenges of Inclusive Industrial Development in a Middle-Income Country Structural Transformation in South Africa: The Challenges of Inclusive Industrial Development in a Middle-Income Country. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 337-362.

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The South African case provides important insights into the challenges facing middle-income countries as they attempt to build productive capabilities to drive their structural transformation. Despite South Africa having opened up and integrated with the global economy, liberalizing trade and financial markets, it has remained stuck in relatively lower-productivity activities with weak diversification of exports. There continues to be a strong path dependency where markets are structured and shaped by previous investment decisions, state interventions, and entrenched rentieristic interests. Five important lessons emerge. First, premature deindustrialization needs to be arrested and reversed, including the growth and upgrading of the manufacturing sector. Second, the technological changes under way with the digitalization of economic activities mean that developing an industrial ecosystem of firms with effective links to public institutions is critical. Third, inclusive industrialization depends on achieving structural change and dismantling barriers to entry to allow a new system of accumulation to emerge. Fourth, structural transformation depends on a country’s political settlement, specifically whether coalitions of interests that support the organization of industries for long-term investment in capabilities hold sway. Fifth, purposive and coordinated industrial policies are central to achieving these goals and improving the country’s productivity and competitiveness. These are applied to identify key considerations for industrial strategy in South Africa, including confronting concentration and the urgent implications of the climate crisis, to ‘build back better’ from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: structural transformation, industrialization, industrial ecosystems, industrial policy, political settlements
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISBN: 9780192894311
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2023 16:35

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