Annual Forum 2020 - Regional Industrial Development

The TIPS Forum 2020 is presented in partnership with the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Industrial Development at the University of Johannesburg and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) programme on Southern African – Towards Inclusive Economic Development. It is being organised in association with the South African Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). 

The Forum will be held in Johannesburg on 25 and 26 May 2020.


With renewed recognition on the importance of building industrial capacity in developing countries as well as having effective industrial policy, industrial development across the Southern African Development Dommunity (SADC) region has been identified as a central path towards accelerated and sustained economic development.
Collectively, the SADC region is relatively under-industrialised. In more than half of the member countries the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is 10 percent or less, and in some cases lower than six percent.
A regional approach to industrialisation is important, given the integration between Southern African economies, including through regional value chains. Patterns of industrial development in one country affect other economies in the region. Furthermore, given the small domestic markets in most Southern African countries, regional markets are important for reaching economies of scale necessary for industrial development. In the policy domain, it is important to take a regional approach to industrialisation. Indeed, industrial policy is increasingly prominent in regional policy priorities.
Minerals extraction has been a driving force for regional economic growth and still plays a significant role in regional economies. The region has not fully utilised the upstream and downstream potential from these minerals to support industrialisation. What is the potential to do so? Similarly, what are the potential gains from agro-processing for industrialisation in the region, including through regional value chains in agro-processing?
Further, industrialisation is a means to achieve socio-economic development and move towards greater levels of equality and a pro-employment development path. How does regional integration and regional value chains support this? Will the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) contribute toward improved levels of industrialisation?
Developing strategic and coherent approaches to industrial development that maximise the impact of state resources and leverage in private sector resources also requires significant further research and analysis.
With the impacts of climate change and the need to ensure a more sustainable future, there needs to be alignment with the industrialisation challenges and approaches in South Africa and in the Southern African region. How does regional industrial development approach the transition, adaptation and mitigation of climate change? What approach is being taken to green industries that could potentially support this transition?Furthermore, how does technological change impact on the types of industries and approach to industrialisation in the region? South Africa has become a highly financialised economy, how has this impacted on the region? Has it supported industrialisation and growth, or had adverse outcomes?

The 2020 Forum will explore these issues and bring together academics, policy makers, as well as organisations and practitioners involved in the various aspects of regional industrial development. The aim is to deepen the understanding of a cross section of issues, and the related opportunities and challenges.


The theme of the 2020 Forum is: Regional Industrial Development.

Call for papers

The Forum is a high-level meeting that will bring together policymakers, researchers, academics and industry players who are involved in various aspects of regional industrial development. TIPS is calling for papers on regional industrial development. 

Between 20 and 25 proposals will be selected for presentation at the conference. The flight and accommodation costs of selected presenters (only one per paper) will be covered by TIPS. Authors are expected to submit a full version of the paper for distribution and publication on the TIPS website in addition to the presentation.

To be considered, abstracts should be submitted by Friday 14 February 2020. Authors will be notified of the decision in the final week of February. Final papers are due for submission by 30 April 2020. Abstract submissions should include full contact details of the authors.

If you wish to contribute, please submit the title of your paper and an abstract of up to 500 words to Daphney Mabuza  at TIPS via email to:
Papers for the forum would cover topics including:

  • Regional integration
  • Regional value chains
  • Trade negotiations and the AfCTFA
  • Regional industrial development and the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • Barriers to entry for new entrants and black industrialists
  • Regional industrial development and approaches to poverty, unemployment and inequality
  • The role of small business in regional industrial development
  • The impacts of financialisation
  • The role of foreign direct investment in regional industrial development
  • Competition levels and market concentration
  • Intangible flows: knowledge flows in the region in relation to industrial development and skills transfer linked to regional FDI
  • Public procurement as a lever for regional industrial development
  • Industrial policy in regional economies, and regional industrial policy
  • The role of multinational companies and access to global value chains.

Papers that explore related themes or other issues related to industrial development will also be considered

Submissions from practitioners in the field of Regional Industrial Development are also encouraged.

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