A systemic perspective in understanding the successful emergence of non-traditional exports: two cases from Africa and Latin America

Michiko Iizuka & Mulu Gebreeyesus


Due to recent revival of interest on industrial policy, there have been many attempts to design policy tools to facilitate the successful emergence of new industry, which in turn may help developing countries to transform structurally to a developmental path. Often, however, the existing policy framework lacks the systemic and dynamic perspective of industry. In this context we consider the 'function of innovation system' to be a useful policy tool and have therefore adapted the framework to analyse two cases from developing countries. We investigate the Ethiopian flower industry and the Chilean salmon industry, both of which are successful cases of non-traditional agricultural exports. This comparison enables us to identify the emerging sequence and content of functions at the 'formative' and 'growth' phases of industry for developing countries. These are significantly different from those of developed countries. The identification of such characteristics, based on the 'functions of innovation system' framework, should support effective policy interventions in other developing countries.

JEL classification: O13, O25

Keywords: Non traditional export, function of innovation system, developing countries, agriculture, self-discovery