The role of supermarket chains in developing food, other fast-moving consumer goods and consumer goods suppliers in regional markets.

Reena das Nair, Namhla Landani
2020
#Agriculture and food
#Trade and FDI
#Manufacturing
#Sub-saharan Africa

Supermarkets are strong catalysts to stimulate the growth and development of producers and suppliers of processed food and manufactured products in Southern Africa. This paper assesses the role of supermarkets and governments in developing supplier capabilities through supplier development programmes. In South Africa, a shift is evident in recent approaches by supermarkets away from mere compliance as part of black economic empowerment or social responsibility objectives, to more mutually beneficial, commercially oriented and long-term investments to develop supplier capabilities. There is still considerable scope to replicate, broaden and deepen these programmes, including extending them to the region. The paper draws lessons from the Namibian Retail Sector Charter of 2016 as the first and only sector-wide intervention in the region that combines a voluntary code of conduct and supplier development commitments. The paper further highlights interventions internationally through codes of conduct as a useful way to reduce possible abuses of supermarket buyer power.

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