Kaplinsky, Raphael; Memedovic, Olga; Morris, Mike and Readman, Jeff
The global wood furniture value chain: what prospects for upgrading by developing countries? The case of South Africa.
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Because of its resource and labour intensity, the wood furniture sector presents an opportunity for developing countries and their firms to participate effectively in the global economy. This paper begins with a brief description of the global wood furniture industry and highlights the importance of exports wood furniture products for developing countries and emerging and transitional economies. The paper then maps the wood furniture value chain and opens-up the nature of the buying function, since this function represents the key form of control over global production networks in this sector (that is, the wood furniture chain is what is increasingly referred to as a "buyer-driven chain"). The paper then asks what producers need to do in order to upgrade their activities, particularly in developing countries. In order to address these issues the authors describe the evolution of an initiative designed to promote the upgrading of one segment of the wood furniture industry in a middle-income country, South Africa. This experience is then used to generate a series of generic policy challenges, which might be transferred to other countries and to other sectors.
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