Technological Capability Building in Low-income Developing A Countries towards Understanding their problems

  • M. M. Huq Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 OLN


Most developing countries are finding it very difficult to make the desired change towards industrialization and, in particular, raise their manufacturing output share in GDE The issue is of particular concern to low-income developing countries. Their most notable advantage in cheap labor fails to be materialized in the goods produced and they find it difficult to compete in the international market. Being imitators rather than innovators of technology they face a disadvantage: Though the literature on how best imported technologies can be used to the advantage ofthe recipient is not yet extensive and does not allow us to see the experiences of various countries and, in particulqof the few successful ones, a consensus has more or less emeged about the need for developing some strategy For example, Enos and Park (1987) talk about improving negotiations with the suppliers of technology La11 (1987, 1992) emphasizes the need to enhance technology learning by manufacturing enterprises, Freeman (1 988) finds the national system of innovation as a decisive factor, Ansden and Hikino (1994) argue for subjecting borrowed technology to continuous incremental upgrading though improved shop floor management, and Bhalla (1996) advocates for developing S&T infrastructure and R&D activities. While there is some variation in emphasis by the various authors as to the type of action required, there is a common strand which binds them together it is in their emphasis on the need for improving the ability of a developing country to operate the imported technology eficiently and effectively.The paper reviews the various strands of thinking and then goes on to identify some of the main problems which have hindered the promotion of technology capability building in developing countries. References are made to a number of Asian and African low-income developing countries, although it must be admitted that the empirical findings are of a fragmentary nature.