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AuthorRasiah, Rajah
TitleThe Export Manufacturing Experience of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand: Lessons for Africa
Imprint Geneva : United Nations, 1998
Descript iii, 69 p. : graphs, tables


Summary: The second-tier Southeast Asian newly industrializing economies (SEANIEs) of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have experienced rapid growth and structural change. Manufacturing became the prime export propellant from the second half of the 1980s. Sustained growth helped support some strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Their resource- rich status and perceived low reliance on industrial policy in the face of increasing liberalization encouraged many to extract lessons from other developing economies. To neoclassical economists their rapid export thrust has been driven by liberal policy regimes. To "flying geese modellists", these economies added another segment to a sequence of wild geese formation undergoing structural change. Such approaches do not adequately explain the causes of growth and structural change in these economies, and fail to identify the serious flaws inhibiting structural deepening and further growth. All three economies have failed to lay the institutional foundations for technological deepening, critical to sustain long-term growth. Much of the growth, thus, has come in low-value added industries. Such structural broadening of activities is unlikely to assist long-term export growth once the factors of production and resources have passed their limits. African economies have few positive lessons to learn from SEANIEs. The two vital lessons are to avoid reducing resource exports when terms of trade fall, so that the undisrupted foreign exchange can sustain industrial development, and to strengthen coordination and incentive frameworks to attract scarce foreign direct investment. With the exception of the lax credit controls which have gripped the Republic of Korea since the late 1980s, African economies would be better advised to seek lessons of institutional coordination and technological deepening from North-East Asian economies to assist enterprises in achieving international competitiveness

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