New approaches to supermarket supplier development programmes in Southern Africa

Reena Das Nair and Namhla Landani
DOI number

#Trade and FDI
#Sub-saharan Africa

Supermarkets are strong catalysts to stimulate the growth and development of 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 supplier development programmes 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. 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 as the first and only sector-wide intervention in the region that combines a voluntary code of conduct and supplier development commitments, with complementary support from the government. The paper also highlights interventions in South Africa and internationally on efforts to curb supermarket buyer power which negatively affects suppliers.


Reena Das Nair

University of Johannesburg

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