oa East African Geographical Review - A location study of some British-based industrial firms in East Africa



The basic logic of a common market among developing countries is the impetus. given to industries which are not feasible in one country alone. Yet the recurring problem in all such federations is the cumulative attracting power of one of the countries involved, which is already more developed or better situated, to the detriment of the peripheral countries. East Africa is, of course, no exception. This article is intended to throw some background on the process and geographical pattern of industrialisation in East Africa, and consequences for the Common Market. It arises from a survey, undertaken in 1966 of 24 British firms, associated with 45 factories in East Africa, to find out their reasons for starting local production and their choice of location, within the region. In particular, the idea is examined that the industrial pattern in developing countries is determined not so much by certain world-wide characteristics of industries, but by the protection offered by international transport cost and the nature, rather than size, of the market. Further, it is suggested that insofar as the factories have chosen sites according to traditional location theory, then industry is likely to be more concentrated in a developing than in a developed country. Since the characteristics of underdevelopment would limit the geographical dispersal of industry, government interference with location is necessary to maintain the political cohesion of a common market.


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