Technical Efficiency in the Services Sector of selected Sub-Saharan African Countries

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Macharia, Kenneth Kigundu
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African Economic Research Consortium
While the service sector is increasingly playing a bigger role in the structural transformation of developing countries, the sector’s level of technical efficiency remains understudied. This study analyses the level of technical efficiency in the service sector of selected sub-Saharan African countries and identifies covariates of this technical efficiency. Data are from the 2013 World Bank Enterprise survey for six countries, namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The estimation is performed by a two-stage bootstrap data envelopment analysis approach at the country and sub-sector levels. The sub-sectors of interest are retail, wholesale, hotel and restaurant, transport, motor vehicle services and IT. The findings show substantial opportunity to enhance technical efficiency in the selected sub-Saharan Africa service firms. The nature of the opportunity varies across countries and sub-sectors. Firm size, export, firm age, research and development, training, female firm ownership and top manager’s experience have an influence on technical efficiency but this influence varies across countries. In general, the findings imply that there is a need to provide an enabling environment that allows the growth of service firms given that large service firms are more technically efficient compared to small firms.