LAC Participation in Digital Business Process-Related Services

This background paper report was prepared for Georgetown Americas Institute (GAI). It defines and describes the global digital business process–related services ecosystem, presents Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries’ participation, and provides considerations for increasing participation. From a global perspective, the LAC region is viewed as an offshore destination for cost reduction and workforce availability rather than innovation. Export-oriented foreign investors are primarily shared services centers and third-party providers of contact center services. Opportunities for LAC to contribute significantly to the global digital services ecosystem are unlikely, at least in the short to medium term, given the dominance of U.S. technology firms and LAC’s limited participation in terms of supply and demand. Increasing use of digital technologies and services and supporting regional firm development are more feasible objectives. LAC firms may be able to reach a global audience in niche areas based on local expertise and partnerships with global digital firms.

Industry 4.0 in Developing Countries: The Mine of the Future and the Role of Women

New digital technologies or industry 4.0 have come to dominate global discussions of trade competitiveness in recent years, and there is growing interest in their impact on employment and gender issues. Industry 4.0 technologies are seen to offer an opportunity to break gender-bias in employment, primarily by reducing previous technical barriers to female entry into the workforce. This research brief aims to contribute to this knowledge gap by examining how the uptake of these new technologies is and will impact female participation in one of these sectors – large scale mining in Chile. Driven by well-financed, global firms, the Chilean mining sector is well positioned to adopt these technologies and its experience should offer important insights regarding the potential impact on gender. Furthermore, the research brief employs a global value chain (GVC) approach, breaking the industry down into segments and roles to better understand where specific opportunities for using the technology to bring women into this male dominated sector can be found. The findings of this exploratory research indicate that, while female participation in value chains positions is one of the lowest amongst major mining countries (3.8 percent), the changing nature of jobs has created new opportunities for women. Public policy and company strategy must be aligned to break this cycle. Ensuring that the twenty-first century technologies can indeed help reduce the gender gap requires a commitment of leadership in the industry to proactively mainstream gender into the development for the new jobs of the future and in all industrial policy strategies for the developing of mining in the country.

Gender Dynamics and Upgrading in Global Value Chains: The Case of Medical Devices

Global value chain (GVC) integration and upgrading have become key goals of trade and investment policy in developing countries. This study seeks to contribute to the gap in the gender and trade debate by analyzing the gender implications of, and impacts on trade and competitiveness in, a single high value manufacturing sector, medical devices. The medical devices industry offers an interesting example of a high-tech and high-value manufacturing sector. It is characterized by strong and growing global demand as populations age and healthcare expenditure expands. This study utilizes a gendered GVC framework to analyze the dynamics of female participation in two emerging countries in the industry: Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Three key questions are addressed: (1) what is female intensity in the industry and how does it compare to the manufacturing sector as a whole; (2) does female intensity change over time as the sector grows and more technologically sophisticated products are manufactured in a particular location, and (3) do changes in wages as a result of upgrading affect female intensity in different roles within the industry. The study is structured as follows: first, a brief overview of the existing literature on gender and GVC-trade, focusing on the benefits of a gendered GVC approach, followed by a discussion of the methodology used is presented. Second, an overview of the medical device GVC is provided to highlight key global industry characteristics, particularly with respect to the nature of work in the industry. The report examines the experiences of the two countries cases, focusing on each nation’s upgrading trajectory and gender dynamics within the industry.

St. Lucia in the Cruise Tourism Global Value Chain

While cruise tourism remains a small niche within the broader tourism industry—its 24 million passengers constitute just 2% of worldwide travelers—it is a critical economic activity in the Caribbean. More than two-thirds of the tourists in the region are cruise-ship passengers. Although cruise ship tourism is not as lucrative as other forms—tourists on cruise ships spend as little as one-tenth the consumption of stay-over visitors—it still accounts for an aggregated US$3.1 billion in expenditures in 2014-15 and supported roughly 75,000 jobs. St. Lucia conforms to this regional trend. Cruise tourism has a large footprint on the island, contributing 63% of the 1.05 million tourists who traveled to the island in 2017. Although there has been some fluctuation, the number of cruise arrivals has trended higher in more recent years. Nonetheless, there are still some weaknesses in the sector, most immediately the low impressions of St. Lucia’s cruise tourism products as well as the lack of strategic agenda. This report identifies some of the most prominent constraints and outlines potential upgrading strategies to boost passenger expenditures.

Belize in the Offshore Services Global Value Chain

Belize in the Shrimp Global Value Chain

Shrimp is the second-leading seafood species as measured by world trade, trailing only salmon. There has been a strong increase in recent production, with global output increasing from 6.5 million MT in 2006 to 8.3 million MT in 2015, a jump of nearly 30%. The world’s leading shrimp producers traditionally have been in Southeast Asia; however, Early Mortality Syndrome has hurt stocks in Thailand and other locations. Belize is one such country. Aquaculture has traditionally been an important generator of revenue and foreign exchange, but a recent outbreak of EMS has decimated production and threatened the survival of multiple smaller and medium-sized businesses. This report uses the GVC framework to analyze Belize’s position in the shrimp industry and identify strategies for improving the competitiveness of domestic businesses.

Saint Lucia in the Banana Global Value Chain

Bananas represent an important source of economic revenue and nutrition for millions around the globe. However, resent shifts in the organizational model of banana trade and the liberalization of key import markets is changing the industry. These changes are placing increasing pressure on many exporters. Saint Lucia previously enjoyed a close relationship with the United Kingdom market, but finds its position slipping due to global market changes and internal issues related to productivity and cost of production. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Saint Lucia’s current participation in the banana industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the chain.

Belize in the Cocoa Global Value Chain

Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, is a major source of income for many farmers. Producers of high value cocoa beans are able to capture higher prices on the international market and overcome economies of scale challenges by focusing on high-value markets. Belize has historically been successful in the cocoa industry and has a long history of cultivation, dating back to Mayan civilization. However, supply disruptions and organizational challenges threaten future growth. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Belize’s current participation in the cocoa industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the industry.

Jamaica in the Tourism Global Value Chain

Tourism is a dynamic source of economic growth throughout the world. The industry’s direct effect to global GDP was higher than many other sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, retail and financial services. The vitality of the industry is not confined to any one region; while Europe remains the most visited continent in the world, while Asia Pacific and African nations had the highest growth rates in visitors over the decade from 2006-2015. Tourism is the most important economic activity in Jamaica, as it is for most of the Caribbean region. The country’s beaches attract thousands of tourists each year. As a result, Jamaica’s tourism sector is strongly focused on that segment, which accounts for close to 90% of arrivals. Jamaica is the fourth largest destination in the Caribbean with over 2 million visitors annually after Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Jamaica’s current participation in the tourism industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the industry.

Jamaica in the Offshore Services GVC

Over the past decade, the offshore services industry has experienced tremendous expansion and has emerged as a dynamic global sector, growing at faster rates than exported goods. As a result, developing countries are no longer relegated to manufacturing and natural resource-intensive industries for development. As companies frequently scout new locations with the necessary human capital to provide services at a low cost,   opportunities to drive sustainable growth through the expansion of the knowledge economy are abundant, especially in Latin American and the Caribbean nations. Jamaica’s offshore services industry has expanded significantly since its inception in the early 2000s, doubling employment in the last three years. As an emerging location for customer support, upgrading opportunities are beginning to emerge. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Jamaica’s current participation in the offshore services industry and identify ways to upgrade to higher value-added segments.