Private operators now dominate input supply, crop buying and ginning activities in many African cotton sectors. Varying levels of competition are observed, but greater levels of competition are not necessarily associated with better system performance. This paper explores this phenomenon, drawing on the liberalization experience of Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. While the capacity of the state to support markets remains weak, there may be tradeoffs between the level of competition and the degree of coordination achieved between players within a sector. Different sectoral structures are observed, with a different role for the state appropriate for each.
World Development (2004) 32 (3) 519-536 [doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2003.10.003 ]