Localisation has become largely synonymous with SA’s industrial policy, although critics contend that it will raise costs and distract from export markets. However, debates about its general principles may miss the point. Industrial policy depends on a pragmatic, case-by-case approach to the constraints on different industries.

Instead of discussing localisation in the abstract, its fundamental methodology requires us to pinpoint the conditions where the benefits should outweigh the costs, and then testing that understanding against the evidence for specific value chains...

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