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Firm leadership from shop floor to board room: Challenges and opportunities for production transformation across Africa
Antonio Andreoni (UCL)
Julian Boys (SOAS, University of London)
Sofia Torreggiani (SOAS, University of London)
Private Sector leadership in the Global South
Papers Synchronous
Thursday 18 June, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00

Short abstract:

This paper panel invites contributions on how leadership by business enterprises is driving inclusive and sustainable structural economic transformation in African countries and addressing global challenges, with a focus on strategies for accumulation, upgrading and capabilities development.

Long abstract:

In the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era, structural economic transformation has reacquired centre stage across the Global South and Africa in particular. The extent to which structural transformation is inclusive and sustainable depends on government policies and leadership, but also on other powerful organisations in society, especially business enterprises. Firm leadership and strategies for accumulation, upgrading and capabilities development across value chains and end markets are critical for addressing societal challenges. Climate change requires innovative solutions in the acquisition, adaptation and deployment of technologies as well as the introduction of new organisational models of production. Digitalisation offers new venues for improving productivity, provided that basic and intermediate capabilities are developed. Employment generation calls for productive investments, localisation policies to increase local content and the enforcement of improved labour conditions and standards. The panel invites theoretical and applied contributions with a focus on African countries discussing ways in which development leadership can emerge from businesses to address social challenges, and the main binding constraints they face in the evolving global landscape. We are particularly interested in contributions based on firm, sectoral and ecosystem level primary research unpacking the emerging organisational forms and functions of developmental leadership from shop floor to board room. List of topics: • Leadership in business enterprises, sectoral value chains and industrial ecosystems • Developmental leadership in production transformation • Acquisition, adaptation and development of green technologies for production • Digital production technologies • Business groups evolution in Africa • Comparative political economy of industrial development

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