Industrial policy in Southern African regional integration and development
This paper builds on the theme of regional industrial policy addressed in a number of recent tralac Working Papers and Trade Briefs (McCarthy 2013; Sandrey 2012 and 2013; Woolfrey 2013; and Zarenda, 2012, 2013a and 2013b), and a paper in the Yearbook 2012 (Zarenda, 2013b). The intention is not to repeat what had been written in this spate of tralac documents or to present a summary review but to ask critical questions about what can realistically be expected of industrial policy in southern African integration and development. The paper is largely speculative, and to make it clear at the outset, it represents the views of a sceptic, someone who would like to be convinced that conventional industrial policy can work in the region’s integration arrangements.
The interest revealed in industrial policy reflects the priority attached in the region to microeconomic intervention to allocate resources in support of the faster growth of manufacturing as a driver of economic development. In South Africa, the dominant economy in the region, there is concern about the relative decline in the contribution of manufacturing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), seen as a problem of the deindustrialisation of a developing economy. This concern underlies a number of policy interventions and government initiatives, and, recently, an observable move towards a more protectionist stance in national policy.
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