Economic Journal of Hokkaido University;Vol. 36


Theoretical Framework of Analyzing SMEs and Inter-Firm Linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa

Tokuori, Tomomi

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KEYWORDS : SMEs (Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises);Inter-Firm Linkages;Sub-Saharan Africa


Owing to their small scale and relative isolation, SMEs face a number of obstacles: the lack of specialized skills and equipment, insufficient capability in technology, management, and marketing, the inaccessibility of formal financial institutions, and the difficulty of obtaining relevant information. These factors undoubtedly prevent SMEs from gaining access to large markets. In recent years, the promotion of the "collective efficiency" of inter-firm linkages has drawn increasing attention as a valuable tool in the remedying of these handicaps. This paper constructs a theoretical framework designed to provide an analytical basis for discussing the inter-firm linkages of SMEs. The framework will help explain: 1), how and why inter-firm linkages are indispensable in the process of the development of SMEs, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa; 2), how inter-firm linkages function in the reality of Sub-Saharan conditions; and, 3), how inter-firm linkages can be analyzed.