Upgrading under globalization in health-related industries in Tanzania: the case for dynamic industrial deepening

Wangwe, Samuel; Simonetti, Roberto; Tibandebage, Paula; Mackintosh, Maureen; Israel, Caroline and Mujinja, Phares G.M. (2021). Upgrading under globalization in health-related industries in Tanzania: the case for dynamic industrial deepening. Innovation and Development (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2157930X.2021.1886415

Abstract

Globalization of markets and production networks has made it progressively harder for low income countries to industrialize. This article addresses a conundrum facing industrial firms and industrial policy in a low-income African country: how to achieve upgrading necessary for sustained competitiveness. Using data from a study of manufacturers of health products in Tanzania, we document the double ‘squeeze’ on firms’ profits exerted by sharp price competition alongside competitive pressure for rising product quality within globalized markets. Drawing on Sutton’s model of competing on capabilities, and
the sectoral systems of innovation and production framework, we argue that ‘dynamic industrial deepening’, strengthening domestic inter-firm linkages, is a key requirement for sustainable development of these health industries. We present evidence that sectoral industrial support for the health industries can promote sustainable technological upgrading, and reflect on the challenge of building developmental linkages where external investment to support upgrading is transforming existing business structures.

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