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Private Sector Development

Anxiety and hope in Guangdong, China

David Dollar's picture

A large number of export-oriented processing firms have already closed in Guangdong, the heart of China’s export machine. Image credit: lylevincent at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
I visited the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong this week, the heart of China’s export machine. A large number of export-oriented processing firms have already closed in Guangdong in sectors such as toys and footwear. Of course, firms close all the time in market economies, while others start up. This churning is part of the normal cycle in a market economy and is one of the key sources of productivity growth. Less productive firms die off while the successful new firms have especially rapid productivity growth. As the global economic crisis hits China, it is hard to keep track in real time of the balance of closings and openings.

Entrepreneurs and local officials here are certainly aware that demand for China’s exports has dropped sharply, and they wonder when the global economy will pick up again. Still, at the same time I was impressed at how many see this as an opportunity for China to pursue its rebalancing agenda. These discussions took place at a workshop in Jiangmen on Investment Climate, Innovation, and Industrial Transfer. The phrase “industrial transfer” refers to the fact that the most labor-intensive activities are moving away from the highly successful coastal cities, either to inland China, or other countries (Vietnam, Bangladesh) with lower wages.

How will the financial crisis affect remittances to Africa?

Marilou Uy's picture

Sub-Saharan Africa received almost $12 billion in remittances in 2007, and that was only the official number. With "informal" flows added the total amount can easily be double that number. Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Senegal, Uganda and South Africa received the highest volume of remittances, while in smaller countries such as Lesotho remittances represent up to a quarter of GDP.

More on financial crisis, market failures and government failures

Shanta Devarajan's picture

My earlier post on the lessons to be drawn (and not drawn) from the financial crisis for the balance between state and market in developing countries elicited a lively discussion on this blog. Many of the comments responded to other comments, which gladdens the blogger’s heart (and eases his workload). More seriously, I recently came across two papers that significantly deepened the points I was making in that original post. On t

Teleport yourself into the discussion on Oct. 30

Elisabeth Mealey's picture

Whether it is connecting with someone in another continent without leaving home or jetting off in a flying car, someone familiar with Second Life knows that pretty much anything is possible in the online virtual world—from the serious to the ridiculous.

On Thursday, October 30, at 2 p.m. Washington time, Second Life users will be able to learn the results of the Doing Business 2009 report when it is launched on this island. Doing Business, a report published by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, ranks economies around the world based on how easy it is to do business, considering the level of laws and regulations in a region. The report aims to improve business environments, in part through dialogue and reform.

A Mozambique Paradox

Shanta Devarajan's picture

There is widespread consensus that financial development is critical to economic growth, globally, and in Africa. Yet Mozambique, a country with very low levels of financial development (in a recent survey, only 13 percent of firms had obtained credit from the banking sector, rural credit is almost nonexistent), registered a GDP growth rate of over 8 percent a year over the last decade.

The Nobel Prize in Economics and Africa

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The awarding of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics to Paul Krugman is a tribute not just to the elegance of Krugman’s pathbreaking contributions to international trade and economic geography, but also to his ability to apply cutting-edge economics to real-world problems.  Two pieces by Arvind Panagariya and Arvind Su

Can Africa's growth be sustained?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

We had a fascinating seminar on this topic yesterday.  Goolam Ballin of Standard Bank said that Africa today looks like Asia did 20 years ago--poised to grow rapidly over the next two decades.  At the same time, he was worried about the next two years because of Africa's dismal experience in adjusting to the external shocks of the 1970s.  Nigerian central bank governor Chukwuma Soludo struck a distinctly more optimistic note, pointing out that, for example, Nigeria's non-oil sector was growing even

Does the financial crisis signal the end of free markets and a return to state intervention?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

At a recent videoconference with journalists, I was asked the question in the title of this post several times.   Does the fact that private banks in the United States are going bankrupt mean that the free market system is a failure?  Does the fact that the United States government is bailing out these banks and in some cases “nationalizing” them mean that state intervention is back?

L'autre débat

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Pour ceux qui ont raté le débat entre Sarah Palin et Joseph Biden, les deux candidats à la vice-présidence des Etats-Unis, je vous offre une alternative—un débat entre le professeur Kako Nubukpo de l’Université de Lomé et moi-même.  Contrairement aux candidats américains, nous avons traité des sujets diff&eac

Real-financial sector links

Shanta Devarajan's picture

When asked about the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi reportedly said, “I wish we had their problems.”  I was reminded of this quip when thinking about the current financial crisis in the U.S. and its possible impact on Africa.  In the U.S., there is a constant fear that turmoil in financial markets will spill over to the real sector—in terms of slow growth and unemployment. 


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