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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

While future drivers of economic growth will be from emerging markets, the complexities associated with transitioning from low- to high-income country status. This chapter examines the economic prospects of emerging markets and the challenges they may face. In particular, the chapter investigates the notion of middle-income traps as a possible structural impediment to the realization of consistently high growth and the implications for business when operating within these traps. These countries may find themselves struggling to compete with the low wages of low-income countries and the technological aptitude of advanced countries. The result is the increasing deindustrialization of these countries and a growth slowdown as these countries fail to transition to higher-value activities. This struggle may be accentuated by structural changes in the economy and the process of modernization may produce political disorder, policy paralysis, and instability. This has implications for business that needs to be mindful of the pitfalls associated with countries in transition and different strategies may be required to operate in these settings where companies may have difficulty in moving up value chains and new consumer markets may be vulnerable to structural volatility.

Keywords: middle-income traps, emerging markets, South Africa, long-run growth, international business policy, emerging market challenges, political economy transitions

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