Global value chain and global production network analyses have largely focused on dominance of Northern retailers over suppliers in the global South. The expansion of retailers within the global South sourcing from and supplying consumer end-markets within their own geographic regions is reconfiguring value chain dynamics. This paper draws on GVC and GPN approaches and the concepts of multi-polar governance to analyse changing dynamics of global and regional retail supply networks. Drawing on a case study of supermarket expansion within South and East Africa, it analyses how ‘waves of diffusion’ by global and regional supermarkets provide new opportunities for ‘strategic diversification’ by some horticultural producers and workers. It examines the implications for economic and social upgrading and downgrading, finding mixed outcomes. Strategic diversification provides opportunities for economic and social upgrading by more capable suppliers and skilled workers, but economic downgrading pressures persist and some are excluded from both global and regional value chains.

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Keywords Global value chains, global production networks, supermarkets, economic and social upgrading, horticulture, producers, workers
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Journal Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research
Barrientos, S.W, Knorringa, P, Evers, B, Visser, M, & Opondo, M. (2016). Shifting regional dynamics of global value chains: Implications for economic and social upgrading in African horticulture. Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research, 48(7), 1266–1283. doi:10.1177/0308518X15614416