A combination of falling commodity prices, increasing financial market volatility and weak global demand has negatively affected growth performance in developing economies in recent years.
Against this difficult background, high hopes have been placed in the trade and industrialization opportunities offered by international production networks. Rather than having to develop an entire product or break into highly competitive markets on their own, developing countries can specialize in specific tasks or components of a multitude of value chains, starting at the relatively accessible bottom and steadily upgrading to higher value adding activities.
However, as documented in the Trade and Development Report, 2016: Structural Transformation for Inclusive and Sustained Growth, the evidence of a positive association between participation in global value chains and industrialization is weak.
Many countries in the developing world have found it difficult to scale up and diversify across global value chains; instead, they have been locked into low value adding tasks and are often hostage to price competition that keeps wages low.
The first session of the Expert Meeting will explore strategic approaches to link up to global value chains in order to upgrade local productive capacities and sustain an inclusive growth process.
It will focus on the opportunities offered by regional value chains and South–South cooperation in this respect and discuss the role that industrial policy can play to turn integration and upgrading in global value chains into a driver of economic development. Particular attention will be devoted to the case of Southern Africa and lessons learned from other regions in the South.
Contributions from Experts
Experts are encouraged to prepare articles on the subject under discussion. These papers will be made available at the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.