MEASURING AND ANALYSING THE COMPETITIVENESS STATUS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR

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Internationally published competitiveness reports

The most well-known measure of international competitiveness used to be the Competitiveness Index produced annually in the World Competitiveness Report by two Swiss institutes, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). This index was based upon a huge number of variables (378 in 1995). Many of these were subjective and impressionistic, drawing extensively upon comments from business executives. The two institutions separated their indices since 1996, using different (and fewer) variables and weights – both of which are now widely used and cited. The two reports have different views on the concept of competitiveness. The IMD defines competitiveness as “the ability of a country to create added value and thus increase national wealth…” (IMD, 1996). This definition may imply that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and productivity can be proxies for competitiveness, but the IMD argues that competitiveness cannot be reduced to the mere notions of GDP and productivity (IMD, 1996). In contrast, the WEF accepts GDP and/or productivity as proxies for competitiveness by defining competitiveness as “the ability of a national economy to achieve sustained high rates of economic growth, as measured by the annual change in gross domestic product per person” (WEF, 1996). While their definitions of competitiveness differ, both institutes have selected nearly the same factors of competitiveness. The Global Competitiveness Report prepared by the WEF formulates an index of economic indicators correlated with medium- to long-term economic growth. The index combines data on a country’s economic performance (trade, technological capacity, infrastructure, regulatory framework) – the Growth Competitiveness Index – with qualitative survey data from business executives on their perception of the business environment in the countries in which they operate – the Business Competitiveness Index (WEF, 1996).
The World Competitiveness Yearbook prepared by the IMD measures and compares how well countries are providing an environment for the firms operating within its borders. It also uses two types of data to capture quantifiable and qualitative information. It obtains statistical indicator data from international and regional organisations, private institutions, and national institutes. It also gathers, through an in-depth questionnaire, qualitative data from top executives and middle management, who are asked to evaluate the current and future competitiveness of the country in which they operate (IMD, 1996).
The two reports use different weights in their calculations. The IMD report contains both hard data, that are statistical indicators published by organisations, and soft data, which are survey data compiled from executives. Soft data may be volatile; therefore the IMD applies a one-third/two-thirds balance between hard and soft data. On the other hand, the WEF applies quite different weights. According to the report, the four factors – openness, government, finance and labour – are given a weight of three; the two other factors – infrastructure and technology – are given a weight of two; the remaining two factors – management and civil institutions are given a weight of one. Hence, the weighting of factors is somewhat arbitrary.

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), a measure of foreign ownership of productive assets, such as factories, mines and land, is a reasonable measure of national competitiveness. The factors that make a country attractive for inward FDI are similar to those that determine its competitiveness (Nabi & Luthria, 2002). Countries compete for FDI flows.
Increasing FDI can also be used as a measure of growing globalisation. Figure 3.1 shows the growing inflow of FDI in the 1990’s, mainly in developed countries. Most FDI inflows go to industrialised countries whilst Latin America and East Asia dominate amongst developing countries – as one would expect (Nabi & Luthria, 2002).

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CHAPTER ONE: DEFINING THE COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Defining the competitive environment for agribusinesses in South Africa
1.3 Defining the agribusiness sector
1.4 The South African agribusiness sector: economic status and contribution
1.5 South African studies on agribusiness competitiveness
1.6 Problem statement and research questions
1.7 Hypotheses
1.8 Research objectives
1.9 Outline of chapters
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE SURVEY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Competitiveness theory from Adam Smith to Michael Porter
2.3 Defining competitiveness
2.4 The relationship between competitive performance and confidence
2.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE: MEASURING AND ANALYSING COMPETITIVENESS IN THE AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR: METHODOLOGICAL AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Measures of competitiveness
3.3 A framework for analysing the competitiveness of the agribusiness sector in South Africa
CHAPTER FOUR: MEASURING AND ANALYSING THE COMPETITIVENESS STATUS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Measurement of the competitiveness status of the South African agribusiness sector
4.3 South Africa versus other countries
4.4 Measurement of the competitiveness status of selected commodity and product chains in South African
4.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER FIVE: PARTNERSHIPS TO COMPETE: THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRICULTURAL INPUT INDUSTRY AND AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The importance of a competitive input industry in a supply chain relationship
5.3 An overview of selected South African agricultural input industries
5.4 Measuring the competitiveness status of the South African agricultural input industry
5.5 The link between the competitiveness of the agricultural input industry and the competitiveness of the rest of the agribusiness value chain5.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER SIX: THE DETERMINANTS OF COMPETITIVENESS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Identifying the determinants of competitiveness of the South African agribusiness sector
6.3 Application of the Porter analysis
6.4 Conclusion
CHAPTER SEVEN: TRENDS IN THE DETERMINANTS OF COMPETITIVENESS OF THE AGRIBUSINESSES SECTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Constraints and enhancements
7.3 Application of the Porter analysis
7.4 Summary and conclusion
CHAPTER EIGHT: AN ANALYSIS OF THE DECISION-MAKING ENVIRONMENT OF THE AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Methodology
8.3 Status and trends in the business confidence of the agribusiness sector in South Africa
8.4 Summary
8.5 Test of consistency
8.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER NINE: STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Factors influencing the competitiveness of the agribusiness sector
9.3 The central role of government
9.4 The role of agribusinesses
9.5 Responsibility at sector level
9.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER TEN: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Summary of study
10.3 Contribution to the agricultural economic profession
10.4 An agenda for further research
10.5 Conclusion: Finding winners
REFERENCES

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