Revisiting export competitiveness: The World Bank’s most recent economic update for South Africa
Earlier in February 2014, the World Bank’s Africa Region Poverty Reduction and Economic Management researchers presented their most recent economic update on South Africa, which brought into focus the notion of ‘export competitiveness’. In the foreword to the document by Asad Alam (the Bank’s Country Director for South Africa), the central conclusion highlighted and investigated in depth how opportunities for growth are available through ‘export competitiveness’, particularly trading such goods and services with other Sub-Saharan African countries, and how, in combination with strategic shifts in economic policy (which will be elaborated on later), export competitiveness can ignite economic growth and help South Africa realise its goals of creating jobs and reducing poverty and inequality.
This trade brief presents a summary of the World Bank document, concentrating on the notion of export competitiveness and examining not only the conceptual difficulties associated with such a construct, but also whether, in fact, the extensive focus on this strategy will indeed provide the anticipated benefits that the World Bank envisages.
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