Firm-level perspectives on State-Business Relations in Africa: The food-processing sector in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia

Goodluck Charles, Søren Jeppesen, Paul Kamau, Peter Kragelund

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Experiences from now developed and emerging economies inform us that close state-business relations are crucial for economic development and structural transformation to take place. Based on the positive experiences from other parts of the world, most African governments have set processes in motion establishing collaborative State Business Relations (SBRs). These processes include amongst others amendments to existing laws to facilitate public-private interaction, direct support to existing business associations, and support to and establishment of public-private dialogue fora. Drawing on an analysis of survey data from 210 local firms, complemented with qualitative data from interviews with 41 firms and a number of key informants and a range of secondary sources on the food processing sectors of Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, this paper shows that businesses in the countries have limited policy influence, find policies and programs to be insufficiently targeting the needs and requirements of local businesses and that business associations in the countries are poorly organised. In spite of initiatives taken from the states and other actors, including an increase in the number of formal relations between state and businesses, it is difficult to conclude whether SBRs are collaborative or collusive. The paper contributes to the existing SBR literature by adding a firm-level perspective and by enhancing our knowledge on the usefulness of key theoretical approaches to these issues in an African context
TidsskriftForum for Development Studies
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)109-131
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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