Industrial Policy Reforms: The Changing Role of Governments and Private Sector Development

In most developing economies, industrialization has constituted a major objective of development strategy and government policy. It has been recognized that rapid industrial growth is the principal means of achieving increased employment, incomes and living standards and that the socio-economic transformation of these countries cannot be achieved except through accelerated industrial expansion. The strategy for industrial growth has, however, varied considerably. In several countries, emphasis has been primarily on promotion of private-sector investment, including that of transnational corporations (TNCs). At the same time, in a number of African, Asian and Latin American countries, the State in the past assumed a major role in industrial activities, through state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in various production and service sectors. In between these two models, a number of developing countries adopted the structure of mixed economies, where the private sector was allowed to flourish and grow, with varying degrees of regulatory control by governmental agencies but SOEs were set up in critical industries and commercial activities. The mixed economy model, which was adopted in several Latin American and Asian countries including petroleum-producing countries, became particularly pronounced during the 1970s. The rapidly expanded role of SOEs was accompanied, in most cases, by policies of import substitution and a high degree of protection, including quantitative import restrictions. While foreign investment was generally welcomed, it was often sought to be channelled to particular fields of activity, with pressure for increased holdings by national partners and shareholders, including government agencies and SOEs. There were, however, notable exceptions such as Chile and the Republic of Korea, where export-oriented policies received major emphasis after the late 1970s, or Singapore and Thailand, where foreign direct investment(FDI) was encouraged without ownership restrictions

  • Authors: UNIDO Secretariat
  • Year: 1995
  • Organisation: UNIDO
  • Publisher: UNIDO Publication
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