Industrial Policy in the 21st Century – the Challenge for Africa

UNU-WIDER is running its popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Industrial Policy in the 21st Century – the Challenge for Africa, as a self-paced course.

This course is based on a decade of research by UNU-WIDER, in partnership with the Brookings Institute, inspired by three key questions:

  1. Why is there so little industry in Africa?
  2. Does it matter?
  3. Is there something we can do about it?

According to the World Bank, Africa’s working-age population is expected to increase by nearly 70% by 2035. Without industrialization to create jobs, it will be difficult to achieve sustainable development. While manufacturing led to rapid industrialization in East Asian countries, there is doubt that it can have the same effect in Africa. The question is, if not through manufacturing, how can Africa promote economic growth? 

In this UNU-WIDER course, brought to you via the SDG Academy, you will hear from John Page and other leading voices in development economics about the range of activities known as ‘industries without smokestacks’, and learn how industrial policy that promotes the growth of these industries presents a win-win scenario for economic development in Africa.

The 4-part course with John Page, senior researcher at UNU-WIDER, outlines how industrial policy designed for the 21st century could support a broader set of economic activities and provide the growth, jobs and industrialization needed in Africa.

The MOOC will be available internationally on the edX online education platform, for free (with the option to earn a verified certificate at a fee).

Key objectives

The Industrial Policy in the 21st Century MOOC will be delivered as a self-paced course. Learning materials will be made available, including lecture videos, required and optional readings, video interviews and mini-documentaries, and learners will demonstrate their learning by completing a quiz and participating in the group discussion board with other learners from around the world. 

During the 4-part course you will learn:

  • Why the East Asian ‘manufacturing miracle’ might not be possible for Africa
  • What the alternative pathways to industrialization might be
  • What key drivers of industrialization can support traditional and new industries in Africa
  • How industrial policy can support Africa’s industrialization
Who should enrol

This MOOC is designed for learners at an intermediate level – a minimum undergraduate level of understanding of economics and development theory will be required to follow and benefit from the course.

Policy professionals who want to understand how industrial policy can create win-win strategies for growth and development

Development practitioners seeking insight into how to address the need for industrialization in Africa

Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in economics, development, industrialization and other key concepts related to Africa’s development