The printing industry in sub-Sahara Africa: An exploratory study

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Title: The printing industry in sub-Sahara Africa: An exploratory study
Author: Harmsen, H. Richard
Abstract: The printing industry in Sub-Sahara Africa faces numerous problems inhibiting further growth and development. Because of a scarcity of published information regarding these problems, and regarding the nature of the industry in general, this study hoped to establish a beginning and baseline for researchers, printing managers, suppliers, development planners, and anyone else interested in the development of the African printing industry. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to identify: 1) the general characteristics of the printing industry in Sub-Sahara Africa; and 2) the primary constraints inhibiting its further growth and development. Information was gathered by several means, including a search of the literature, interviews, and a survey of manufacturers. General economic data was also gathered and statistically analyzed by country cluster and factor analyzes. Further, the industry is examined in terms of international technology transfer research findings. The study showed that the printing industry in Sub-Sahara Africa is characterized by the following generalizations: A wide range of diversity in technological sophistication from one country to another; rapid technological change; a scarcity of local sources of printing equipment and supplies; a generally low level of printing quality; predominantly single color printing; a relatively high cost for raw materials; high tariffs on industry inputs; a scarcity and low level of technical skills; poor management; a generally rudimentary level of technology; considerable infrastructure problems; small and underdeveloped markets ; poor environmental control; poor printer/publisher relations; and a scarcity of training and educational institutions for the graphic arts. Recommendations to participants and recommendations for further research are presented.
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Date: 1982-05

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