The dynamics of Zambia's copper value chain

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The past two decades witnessed the emergence of China and India as major investors in African extractive industries. This, together with the commodity price boom, raises new questions on Africa's industrialisation prospects. This thesis investigates the dynamics of industries upstream of a mineral sector, in light of changing investment ownership patterns. My aim is to examine whether the new value chain drivers, China and India, are characterised by distinctive value chain governance patterns and whether this impact on the opportunities and constraints for the localisation and development of a mining supply industry. I also analyse the socio-economic context in which these dynamics are embedded to identify historical trajectories and institutional determinants. Zambia represents an appropriate case-study given the central role of the copper sector in the country's economy and the heterogeneity of the copper industry ownership structure. My findings are based on 77 interviews with European, Canadian, Chinese and South African mining companies, local supply firms, and private and public sector representatives. In addition, archive material was instrumental in contextualising my research questions within post-structural adjustment programme trajectories in the Copperbelt. I adopt a theoretical framework based on the Global Value Chain approach. Additionally, I draw extensively on the international business literature.

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