Linking business strategies with upgrading pathways in global value chains: Insights from the Kenyan solar market

Ulrich Elmer Hansen*, Padmasai Lakshmi Bhamidipati, Mathilde Brix Pedersen, Ivan Nygaard, Hope Nyambura Njoroge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Motivation
Research on global value chains (GVCs) has tended to overlook the agency of the local firm when it comes to processes of upgrading.

Purpose
We attend to this knowledge gap by exploring the relationship between the business strategies and upgrading pathways of fourteen firms operating in the value chain for solar systems in Kenya.

Methods and approach
The paper draws on in-depth fieldwork carried out in Kenya, which included thirty semi-structured interviews with firm representatives and industry informants.

Findings
We find that local firms pursue different upgrading pathways in order to be competitive and we show the underlying business strategies whereby firms pursue different upgrading pathways.

Policy implications
The article contributes to overcoming the prevailing black-boxing in the GVC literature on local firms undergoing processes of upgrading.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12655
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Volume41
Issue number2
Number of pages24
ISSN0950-6764
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Agency
  • Business strategies
  • Global value chains
  • Local firms
  • Upgrading

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