The Economics and Politics of Local Content in African Extractives: Lessons from Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique

Michael Hansen, Lars Buur, Anne-Mette Kjær, Ole Therkildsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Extractive foreign direct investment (FDI) is heralded as the new development
opportunity in Africa. A key precondition for FDI’s contribution, however, is
that foreign investors create ‘local content’ by linking up to the local economy.
Consequently, African host governments are contemplating ways in which they
can promote local content. This paper examines local content policies and
practices in three African countries – Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique – all
countries with huge expectations for extractive based economic development. It
is found that in spite of high ambitions and strong expectations, local content is
limited, shallow and inefficient. The paper explores why local content apparently
is so difficult to achieve in these African countries. It is argued that conventional
economic explanations, focusing on market failures and weak institutions, are
partial at best and therefore must be complemented with political explanations.
Hence, it is proposed that local content practices in the three countries can be
understood partly as the results of ruling elites’ efforts to build and maintain
stable political coalitions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForum for Development Studies
Volume43
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)201-228
Number of pages28
ISSN0803-9410
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • extractives
  • political economy
  • linkages and local content
  • FDI and MNCs
  • Africa

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