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Global value chains and policy practice: The making of linkages in the Ivorian cashew industry


The global value chain framework has gained increasing prominence as a policy tool for resource-based industrialization. Focusing on synergies between the commodity-producing and related manufacturing and service sectors, value chain interventions assume that buyer-supplier linkages facilitate the upgrading of local industries. This study investigates these synergistic assumptions in the context of the Ivorian cashew industry. The Ivorian case exemplifies how the value chain concept, with its associated focus on local-global linkages, has placed collaboration with foreign lead firms at the heart of the industrial policy agenda. While these collective arrangements are crucial for negotiating inter-firm relationships along global value chains, this study finds little evidence that they have initiated upgrading for local industries. Instead, the emergence of foreign buyers as strategic partners for policy-makers has created opportunities for these lead actors to reinforce their dominant position, stemming from access to finance and technology.

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