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Moving up the copper value chain in Southern Africa

Mtanga Sithembiso, Makgetla Neva and Levin Saul

No wp-2019-52, WIDER Working Paper Series from World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER)

Abstract: Southern African countries—mainly Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—account for around a seventh of global production of copper. In the 2010s, they imported over a third of the associated capital goods and components from South Africa.Given this strength, some observers suggest that the South African capital goods industry could do more to support copper fabrication in the region. Theoretically, investing in production of semi-manufactures (principally wire, cable, and tubing) would promote industrialization and enhance value-add. In practice, however, unit prices have only been slightly higher for semis than for refined copper, limiting scope for fabrication—especially as local manufacturers obtain copper essentially at international prices.In any case, the South African capital goods industry is centred on mining, not metalworking machinery. It can only compete with overseas suppliers if it obtains increased financial support for exports and for research and development.

Keywords: Value chains; Agglomeration; copper; Exports; Global value chains; Industrial policy; Mineral industries; Industrialization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int
Date: 2019
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