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Foreign Trade Potential, Small Enterprise Development and Job Creation in Developing Countries


Rondinelli, Dennis A. & Kasarda, John D. (1992). Foreign Trade Potential, Small Enterprise Development and Job Creation in Developing Countries. Small Business Economics, 4(4), 253-265.


Increasing American competitiveness in the international economy requires expanding trade with emerging markets, especially in developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Historically, as developing countries' economies have grown, the capacity for exporting and importing have both expanded. In the future, the capacity for trade in developing countries will depend increasingly on their ability to create sufficient numbers of jobs to absorb their rapidly growing labor forces.
Unlike Western countries, most developing economies have a small percentage of their labor forces in large-scale manufacturing and a large share engaged in small-scale and informal sector enterprises. Small-scale enterprises have been the primary sources of labor absorption in cities in developing countries and will continue to play a crucial role in the future. Experience has shown that policies for improving the capacity of small-scale enterprises to generate jobs have had only mixed results in developing countries. The challenge facing governments and the private sector in the future include: (1) creating an economic environment conducive to small-enterprise development; (2) removing regulatory and administrative obstacles to small-enterprise expansion; (3) tailoring small-enterprise promotion programs to local conditions and needs; (4) providing capital and credit for small-business owners; (5) involving the private sector in small-enterprise development programs; and (6) providing technical assistance, training and educational programs through public-private partnerships.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Small Business Economics


Rondinelli, Dennis A.
Kasarda, John D.