Policy Seminar - Industrialization in Africa

Policy seminar in collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Industrialization in Africa

The pressure for Africa to industrialize is being felt. Recent research observes that Africa can more than double its overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by increasing industrial GDP in the next ten years. The continent, however, needs to leverage the full strength of a wide range of strategies to realize this.

Records show that Africa has really underperformed in terms of industrialization. Today, the share of manufacturing in GDP is about what it was in the 1970s, less than one-half of the average for all developing countries. And in contrast with developing countries as a whole, it is declining. Many of the region’s recent growth success stories—Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example—have shares of manufacturing in GDP that are well below their predicted values.

This African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) Senior Policy Seminar XIX, held in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), is, thus, a timely opportunity to explore policy options for accelerating the pace of industrialization in the continent. The seminar draws on research by the AERC network members, and on the Learning to Compete (L2C) multi-year research programme, jointly sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Brookings Institution and UNU-WIDER. It is hoped that these contributions will enhance our understanding of the ingredients for accelerated industrialization toward African economic transformation.

At the policy seminar Professor Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER, will set scene and spoke about the Learning to Compete project in the session titled 'Industrialization in Africa: Setting the Stage & Overview'.

After Professor Tarp's presentation, UNU-WIDER's Non-Resident Senior Reseach Fellow Carol Newman joined the stage in the session titled 'Industrial Clusters: The Case for Special Economic Zones in Africa'.

On the second day of the seminar, UNU-WIDER's Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow John Page took part in the panel for session 7 – a policy roundtable presided by Tanzania's Central Bank governor, Benno Ndulu.

Now available

At the end of the event, senior policy makers and other stakeholders, private sector and civil society, from around the continent adopted the Abidjan Declaration as an affirmation of their strong commitment to accelerating industrialization.

 View and download Finn Tarp's presentation slides

View and download Carol Newman's presentation slides