African manufacturing firms' need for innovation to achieve competitiveness


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version


Document Type



African manufacturing sector, competitive advantage, knowledge and information, innovation; strategy formulation, small/medium enterprises, culture


The study focuses on the key issues affecting the functioning and structure of Africa's private manufacturing sector. Surveys conducted in seventeen countries in sub-Saharan Africa present a number of issues faced by participating firms. These issues include: access to finance, access to trade finance, complexity of tax system, customs and trade regulations, corruption, availability of qualified labor, labor regulations, employee health, reliable electricity supply, cost of electricity, transport costs, loss due to transport (breakage, theft, delays), physical infrastructure, ability to own land/premises, and physical crime. The methodological base was derived from extensive literature review. The survey questionnaire was based on the literature review which included various theoretical models. The survey was tested on a small group before rolling out to various countries in sub-Saharan Africa and collecting this data. The study does not cover all of the many potential causes proposed to explain the slow rate of industrial growth in Africa; instead, it concentrates on what managers and entrepreneurs in the private manufacturing sector in Africa have encountered. The analysis is a reflection of their points of view. Their businesses are part of the formal manufacturing sector, which, even though it is not the dominant sector of economic activity, is vital in the chain of development. The study facilitates knowledge and information on an assortment of success factors for improved performance for companies in the emerging market of sub-Saharan and other parts of the African continent.





Published in

Information Knowledge Systems Management Journal

Citation/Other Information

12, (1) 53-73. DOI 10.3233/IKS-130216