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Banga Karishma

Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex

Karishma Banga is a Research Fellow in Digital Development at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Brighton. Her research examines new models of digital-led development, changing nature of Global Value Chains and digital trade negotiations, with a focus on development implications for low and middle-income countries. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the International Economic Development Group, ODI working on international trade in the digital age with a focus on Africa and Asia, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, Graduate Institute of Geneva. She has led and worked on a range of projects with international organisations and stakeholders, including UNECA, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNCTAD, Afreximbank, African Union, WTO, and Pathways for Prosperity, University of Oxford. Karishma holds a PhD in Global Value Chains from the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester and a MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge
publication
Sustainable Global Supply Chains Report 2022

Global supply chains affect the economy, the environment and social welfare in many ways. Worldwide, economies are experiencing global supply shortages today, affecting key industries such as automotive and consumer electronics as well as vaccine and medical supplies industries. These preoccupy policymakers, who are debating independent national production capacities and restrictions on international trade, but also large companies, which consider reshoring production and abandoning just-in-time procurement. At the same time, the greening of the global economy requires a restructuring of global production to massively decrease its environmental footprint. This creates new supply chain challenges – how to move towards circular economies and how to reorient energy-intensive industries towards renewables and green hydrogen, for example. And let‘s not forget: Consumers are increasingly demanding higher social and environmental standards. Transparency requirements and binding due diligence obligations will in particular affect countries that export raw materials and labour-intensive goods produced under problematic environmental and social conditions. All of this calls for policies that shape global supply chains in accordance with globally agreed social and environmental objectives. Policies along these lines will have to balance the legitimate interests of different countries and they may easily fail to achieve their objectives unless they are firmly grounded in a thorough understanding of the respective structures in supply chains, including the power relations between the actors. Further, the economic, social and environmental effects of alternative policy options need to be well understood. Science can make an important contribution here, especially if it maintains a constant dialogue with politics and society. This is why the international “Research Network Sustainable Global Supply Chains” was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It currently comprises about 100 internationally leading scientists from all over the world and is jointly coordinated by our four institutes. Its tasks are: To conduct and stimulate research that contributes to making supply chains more sustainable; and to collect and synthesize the best international research on this topic and make it accessible to policy makers and other societal actors. In addition to its own research, the network organises academic conferences and discussions with policymakers, organises a blog and produces podcasts. With this report – the first in a new annual series – we present new research highlights, provide a forum to debate controversial supply chain topics and identify policy-relevant research gaps for the network‘s future work. The report is, at the same time, an invitation to participate in the discussions on how investment, production and trade will be reorganized in a global economy that has to respond to geopolitical challenges.

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blog
India’s manufacturing and services value-chains are shifting South – A curse or a blessing?
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Monthly Seminar Series | Global Value Chains and Total Factor Productivity in Indian Manufacturing Firms
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E-commerce in preferential trade agreements: implications for African firms and the AfCFTA

At continent level, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations are scheduled to include a protocol on e-commerce under Phase III, presenting a unique opportunity for African countries to collectively establish common positions on e-commerce, harmonise digital economy regulations and leverage the benefits of e-commerce. In this paper, we examine developments in e-commerce negotiations, their implications for African businesses and the role of the AfCFTA. This is done using desk-based research, complemented with primary survey data from 31 African businesses predominantly across Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, and in-depth semi-structured telephone interviews with 15 firms, the majority of which are small enterprises. A core finding is that e-commerce is now more important than ever, with scope for the AfCFTA to provide a guiding framework for data protection, privacy policies and stronger enforcement. The analysis in this paper shows that facilitating a regional dialogue in Africa to open opportunities to cross-border e-commerce trade is key.

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Digital Technologies and Product Upgrading in Global Value Chains: Empirical Evidence from Indian Manufacturing Firms

This paper provides empirical evidence on the impact of digitalisation on product upgrading in Global Value Chains (GVCs). Analysis is done for a sample of Indian manufacturing GVC firms in the period 2001–2015 from the firm-level database Prowess, using the methodology of System Generalised Method of Moments. Product upgrading is captured by a novel sales-weighted average product sophistication indicator constructed at the firm level. Digitalisation is captured through a digital capability index, constructed using principal component analysis, which draws information on both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ digital assets for firms. Empirical results indicate that an increase in digital capability of an Indian GVC firm has a significant and positive impact on its product sophistication, implying that by investing in digital capabilities, Indian manufacturing firms can produce better and more sophisticated products in GVCs, enabling them to upgrade and climb up the value-chain ladder. Firms that are Digital Leaders produce 4–5% more sophisticated goods than Digital Laggards.

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Disruptive technologies in agricultural value chains: Insights from East Africa

Global food demand is expected to increase by somewhere between 59% and 98% by 2050 as the world population reaches an estimated 9.7 billion. Food production is especially critical in Africa, where over 70% of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Against a backdrop of the rapid dwindling of agricultural productivity, the exclusion of women from the work force and the threat of climate change, an increase in the use of agricultural technologies – AgriTech – could help reduce livelihood loss and support inclusive economic transformation. This working paper explores the implications of the digitalisation of agriculture, with a focus on East Africa. It addresses the following key questions: What is AgriTech? What prevents adoption of AgriTech? What does disruption mean within AgriTech? What are the pathways through which AgriTech may disrupt livelihoods and support transformation?

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Linking Southern Africa into South Africa’s global value chains

This study explores the potential for South Africa to become an engine for intra- regional trade and industrial development by linking other Southern African countries to its global value chains and, in the process, improving its global trade competitiveness. The study identifies ‘lead products’ exported by South Africa, and then uses revealed comparative advantage and unit cost analysis to identify intermediate inputs in which Southern African countries have competitiveness to export that is currently untapped due to a lack of supply capacity or other factors. Such products are potential areas where regional investments could lead to the successful creation of regional value chains. The study also identifies ‘new markets’ for agricultural lead products exported by South Africa, which could open new opportunities for Southern Africa to supply intermediate agricultural inputs.

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