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Justin Barnes

Justin has a 25-year track record in Global Value Chain research and international industrial and trade policy development. He was recently responsible for compiling Mauritius’ new industrial policy, and led the development of South Africa’s automotive, extra heavy transport equipment, and clothing, textiles, and footwear masterplans. He has completed industrial research, corporate strategy, and industrial and trade policy development assignments in over 30 countries; and has extensive benchmarking and firm-level upgrading experience, having pioneered firm-level competitiveness assessment and industry clustering methodologies. Justin is presently the Chairperson of B&M Analysts, the Manufacturing Ambassador of the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies, and an Associate Professor at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria. He holds a BA Hons (Geography), MSocSci (Development Studies), and PhD (Development Studies – Industrial specialisation).
podcast
Is the electric age a game changer for South Africa’s automotive industry?
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publication
Government Policy in Multinational-Dominated Global Value Chains

Through a series of government plans, the South African automotive industry has achieved undeniable success, especially in terms of its export orientation. The industry uses efficient technologies and is integrated into global markets. However, major structural weaknesses exist. Export growth has not been accompanied by increasing local content, investment has been modest and employment creation insignificant. Vehicle and component imports into the domestic market are high and the industry runs significant trade deficits. Most core technologies are imported, including advanced power trains and electronics. This chapter considers the structural impediments to the industry’s development, as well as issues related to ownership and power relations between the state and multinational firms. Analysing the potential for further localization and the deepening of the supply chain, the chapter considers global technology developments, domestic productive capabilities, and power dynamics in the global value chain (GVC). The chapter argues that state–business bargaining dynamics have negatively affected this potential. While efforts to deepen the supply chain would allow for more sustainable growth, the achievement of such goals is impossible without concerted commitment from all stakeholders.

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publication
Value chains and industrial development in South Africa

This paper focuses on the dynamics of global value chains (GVC) engagement and industrial development in South Africa through two case studies - the automotive and textiles/apparel sectors. The further industrialisation and development of South Africa and of the Southern African region will depend heavily on further developing their engagement in GVCs and simultaneously upgrading their capacities into higher valued and more skill intensive activities. The automotive industry is import and export intensive, offering the potential for technological advancement, increasing skill intensity and upgrading, and positive economic spillovers. Apparel is domestically market oriented, sourcing domestically, regionally in Southern Africa, and from Asia. It is an example of a low technology, labour intensive industry, exhibiting lower levels of managerial capabilities and skills. It is challenged by rising capabilities to meet new value chain requirements and extending the supplier base to increase value addition (and by implication employment) in the economy.

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publication
Regional integration, regional value chains and the automotive industry in Sub-Saharan Africa

To date, regional automotive value chains have not developed to any significant extent in Africa. Growing demand for vehicles across the continent, closer economic integration and the desire on the part of some larger African countries to establish an automotive industry have improved prospects. But major obstacles remain: the political geography of the subcontinent and the tendency of the industry to cluster in a few locations indicate that many smaller countries are likely to miss out on attracting investments. This should not matter if they are attracting investment in other sectors. It does however imply that it is unlikely that the automotive industry will drive regional integration independently of a broader integration process which sees the development of regional value chains across a multitude of sectors helping to bind the continent into a larger common market.

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