The paper is a review of approaches towards technology support for small-scale
manufacturing enterprises in developing countries since the early 1970s. Early programmes
tended to suffer from a number of weaknesses, emanating from a limited conceptualisation of technology and an inadequate understanding of the role of the small-scale sector in industrial development more broadly. There was also a lack of practical experience with project implementation. However, in recent years important advancements have been made on all these fronts. Four features of recent technology assistance programmes that have tended to be associated with success are discussed and illustrated with evidence from three projects.
Broadly, successful projects (a) embrace the notion that durable competitiveness of small
producers in a competitive economic environment requires that they develop internal
capabilities to effectively asssimilate, use, and adapt product and process technologies; (b) are demand-driven; (c) target the assistance to groups of producers with common interests and problems, and help them to organise themselves in collective bodies that can evolve into selfhelp institutions; and that (d) design appropriate incentive structures based on market principles.
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