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Title: Industrialisation in times of China : a demand-side perspective on China's influence on industrialisation processes in sub-Saharan African countries at the example of Angola between 2000 and 2014
Author: Wolf, Christina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 1936
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Using a case study of Angola between 2000 and 2014 this thesis investigates how economic ties with China have affected patterns of manufacturing sector development in sub-Saharan Africa. Research on industrial development largely side-lines the conditions under which demand for commodity production remains or becomes expansionary – a question of particular relevance for SSA economies at the time of writing given recent reconfigurations of global export markets. While aggregate export earnings of many SSA economies increased as a result of the commodity price boom between 2000 and 2015, export markets served less and less as outlets for manufacturing products. Financialisation in developed economies crowds out long-term productive investment and tends to worsen the distribution of income and wealth thereby depressing consumer demand. What is more, intense competition from China displaced some African manufacturing exports. Against this global economic context tending towards systemically deficient demand, the mobilisation of domestic sources of demand for manufacturing outlets becomes a key challenge of late-industrialisation in SSA. China's specific mode of engagement with SSA economies has the potential to support domestic market formation because of its focus on construction activities which are labour absorbing and carry the potential for chains of induced investment demand in the real economy. In Angola, the export demand stimulus resulting from Chinese demand for raw materials has favoured the formation of domestic markets in two distinct ways. Export demand fuelled entrepreneurial expectations about rising levels of consumer demand which led to investments in the beverages sector. In the building materials sector, export earnings facilitated government spending on infrastructure and housing which induced investment demand for construction materials like cement. Domestic policy has facilitated the emergence of manufacturing industries and macroeconomic policy has acted in support of the building materials sector but less so in support of the beverages sector. Overall, government support for demand growth is in no way self-evident or uniform across sectors. Patterns of fiscal spending, labour market and redistributive policies are all tightly linked to the distribution of income and, by extension, distributional conflicts. Demand was an important driver of investment decisions in beverage production, yet the growth of demand for these products was not supported by coherent redistributive policies. In the absence of such support, the demand base remained vulnerable to external shocks such as the 2015 collapse in oil prices and resulting increases in domestic inflation. Taken together, this suggests that the extent to which and the reasons why demand growth is supported by domestic policy are important explanatory elements for understanding patterns of expansion and stagnation of manufacturing production in developing economies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral