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After two decades of negative per capita growth, GDP growth has averaged 5 percent per year and GDP per capita has increased by 30 percent since Yet important competitiveness challenges remain—as explored in Chapter 1. African countries would benefit from more intense trade and investment linkages, including higher intra-regional trade.
These positive developments are taking place within a context of expanding participation in global value chains GVCs. These questions are particularly relevant for many African countries where business environments are generally less competitive and where policy challenges need to be confronted with more limited public resources.
They also highlight the importance of the ongoing debate about the extent and desirability of integrating into regional and GVCs and the benefits associated with wider participation for developing countries.
Regional African value chains can also play a significant role in offering local producers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises SMEsopportunities to access fast-growing and more easily accessible markets across Africa.
More data and empirical studies are needed to fully assess the extent and determinants of the integration of countries into GVCs, and the consequences these have on development outcomes such as labor gains and other social and environmental outcomes. The third part discusses policy options for governments to strengthen the integration of their economies into GVCs.
The last section stresses the need for broad economic reform agendas to deepen African integration in value chain trade. Priority areas include trade facilitation, business climate, strengthening investment and financial services, regulatory reform, and stronger regional integration.
Although the desirable outcome—boosting productivity and employment creation—is clear, a remaining question is whether participation in both backward and forward integration paves the way to these objectives or if one should be favored over the other.
Recent research shows that increasing backward participation leads to higher per capita domestic value-added in exports. A higher share of backward participation is also linked to the production of more-sophisticated export bundles and greater diversification of exports over time.
Africa captures a small but growing share of global value-added trade and constitutes one of the most integrated regions in GVCs. Today over 70 percent of global trade is in intermediate goods and services and capital goods.
These three regional blocs accounted for approximately 80 percent of global value-added trade in Africa captured a small but growing share of this trade in African exports in North and West Africa in particular are still concentrated around commodities such as fuel and mineral resources.
Only East and Southern Africa record increasing shares of processed intermediate exports. Backward participation, however, has been growing faster than forward participation, increasing by 60 percent between and Both regions have important natural resource sectors and a strong export specialization in mining activities.
Large differences both in total participation rates and shares of forward and backward participation rates across African countries prevail. Most African countries have seen their forward participation rate increase between and South Sudan, Djibouti, South Africa, Niger, Ethiopia, and Congo have witnessed the most important relative increase in forward participation rates above 40 percent of all African countries.
Overall, forward participation rates have increased by 20 percent in Africa since The countries with the highest backward participation rate are Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Lesotho, and Tanzania.
Although the regional component of African value chain trade is low, backward integration is twice as important as forward integration within the continent. Intra-continental trade flows account for only 6 percent of forward integration and 12 percent of backward integration.
Inter-regional forward integration shares are highest in Southern Africa, with 11 percent, and backward integration shares are most significant in East Africa and Southern Africa, at 25 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Controlling for other factors, the larger the size of the domestic market, the lower the backward integration of a country and the higher the forward integration. One explanation for this is that countries with larger economies are able to draw on a larger array of domestic intermediate inputs and therefore need to import less.
The impact of market size on backward participation is more pronounced in low-income countries than in middle- and high-income countries. In terms of forward participation, the size of the market plays a smaller role in low-income countries, probably because of their stronger export concentration in natural resources.
Distance to manufacturing hubs: As mentioned earlier, GVC trade exhibits strong regional concentration around the three main manufacturing hubs of Europe, Asia, and North America. Distance to one of these hubs has a strong impact on backward engagement, signaling that there is a strong benefit of proximity to headquarter economies.
The impact of distance on forward participation is insignificant. Level of industrialization proxied by share of manufacturing value-added in GDP: Larger manufacturing sectors are positively related with backward participation and negatively with forward participation.
However, the impact of the level of industrialization of the economy is significant only in low-income countries. Backward linkages are strongest in countries that engage in factory-type activities, such as assembly, which dominate in early stages of industrialization.
In many African countries, a relatively small manufacturing sector reduces the potential for participation and provides additional incentives for specialization in primary sectors. Overall, backward participation is better understood than forward participation.He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing grams (one pound) of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.
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