As the 37th Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Summit kicks off, the longstanding question of how to best spur industrial growth and development in the region is at the top of policy makers’ agendas. Greater integration of countries into global and regional value chains is a key focus area given the summit’s theme: Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and value chains. Value chains encompass all the processes that bring a raw material to a final product, for example, from cotton to clothing in the textile industry. Global and regional value chains are often spearheaded by an international or regional lead firm that invests in part of a product’s production process, such as garment production, in a developing country. This has the potential to bring labour-intensive manufacturing, diffusion of knowledge and technology, and local supplier linkages to developing countries. Over the past 15 years Sadc’s international trade and investment flows have grown ...

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