Learning to Compete: What did we learn?

2016 AERC Biannual Research Workshop
UNU-WIDER Director Finn Tarp presents the book 'Made in Africa' in a Special Session at the AERC Biannual Research Workshop.

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) hosts the Biannual Research Workshop on 29 May  – 2 June 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. The biannual research workshop uses a unique framework combining learning-by-doing research, peer review, mentoring and networking to build and strengthen the capacity of African researchers. The workshop brings together a large number of economists from Africa and outside.

At the event, Professor Finn Tarp discussed the findings of the Learning to Compete (L2C) research programme investigating the seemingly simple, but frustratingly puzzling question: Why is there so little industry in Africa?

View and download Finn Tarp's presentation slides

About the book

Made in Africa: Learning to Compete in Industry is the result of a collaborative research effort involving UNU-WIDER, Brookings Institution and the African Development Bank. It presents the key results of Learning to Compete (L2C), a multi-year, comparative research programme.

While Asia has enjoyed explosive growth in the last few decades, Africa, by comparison, stands out as the least industrialized region in the developing world. This is despite the fact that most Asian economies began their industrialization processes with initial conditions similar to many African countries. The authors show how the slow pace of Africa’s industrialization is responsible for the region’s poor performance in translating growth into quality jobs and poverty reduction.

The authors also propose a new strategy for Africa to get its fair share of the global market and compete effectively. While traditional concerns such as better skills, improved infrastructure and regulatory reforms are important, they alone will not be sufficient for Africa to industrialize. For Africa to be able to compete, policies to promote exports, build the capabilities of domestic firms and foster industrial clusters will be needed.