Identifying pathways to economic development through India’s South-South knowledge transfers & exchange: evidence from cotton apparel in Tanzania

Project Active from to Firms and Trade

India’s intensified trade relations with Africa features as a key component of its model of South-South cooperation based on mutual partnerships. India’s trade with and investment in the African continent has grown in a major way, building on deep historical ties, especially with East Africa.

Tanzania has emerged as a key partner, with promising potential in cotton apparel. Notwithstanding this potential, there is only limited literature and evidence on effective design and implementation of South-South partnerships for technology transfer and exchange towards sustained learning and innovation.

The project will examine the demand for technology and the role of India’s technology transfer and exchange in Tanzania, with a focus on cotton apparel. The main objectives are as follows:

  • Identify existing technology sources and demand to meet technology gaps through South-South partnerships in Tanzania, especially those between Indian and Tanzanian firms in cotton apparel;
  • Examine the extent to which South-South partnerships contribute towards developing absorptive capacity. “the ability to identify, assimilate and exploit knowledge” that is a key enabling variable for technology transfer and exchange, leading to innovation and economic growth, inducing self-learning over time.

The first stage of the project will compile evidence on the existing scenario and demand for South-South partnerships between Indian and Tanzanian firms in cotton apparel. The researchers will examine where and how Tanzanian firms source knowledge and technology and the current relationship with India. Through semi-structured interviews, the researchers will gather a fact base on the intermediate and capital goods imported by Tanzanian textile firms, the nature of linkages between Indian and Tanzanian firms, the incentives and enabling factors for technology transfer and exchange and the outcomes in terms of trade, investment and innovation.

In the second stage of the project, the researchers will aim to assess the importance of trade-led technology transfer and exchange by examining the role of trade in capital goods for the bilateral relationship between India and Tanzania. Using evidence on specific projects and linkages from the first stage, they will compile secondary data sets on key metrics such as production, productivity, inputs and capital and labour usages in Tanzania.

The researchers will aim to use this evidence to model the role of South-South trade in transmitting the benefits of technological advances in Tanzania, both in general and in the case of Indian technology. The findings could then be used to inform South-South trade policy in Tanzania and serve as a blueprint for further research in the region.