Kunal Sen invited to expert consultation with UNIDO on manufacturing responses to COVID-19

UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen was invited to contribute to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's (UNIDO) High-Level Expert Consultation (HLEC) which took place online on 18 May 2021. He joined eminent experts including Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate economist and lecturer at Columbia University, Jeffery Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Xiaolan Fu, Founding Director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD), Justin Lin, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, Mariana Mazzucato,  Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, and others, to discuss the industrial policies available to support an inclusive, sustainable and resilient industrial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kunal Sen presented recent research which draws from the newly released Economic Transformation Database to show opportunities available for domestic industrialization as a way out of the pandemic. 

Professor Sen focused his presentation on sub-Saharan Africa, a region which has faced the greatest challenge in fostering industrialization in recent decades but is now experiencing a manufacturing renaissance.  

The key factor behind Africa’s manufacturing renaissance has been the growth of small manufacturing firms which suggests that a domestic and regionally-based industrialization may be more relevant for Africa than the export-oriented manufacturing strategy taken up by East Asia. 

Based on the new research and changing trends in manufacturing, Professor Sen suggests focusing on the domestic and regionally-based industrialization pathways could be the solution to inclusive, sustainable, and resilient industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The contributions during the consultation will inform UNIDO’s ongoing research work for the Industrial Development Report (IDR) 2022, The Future of Industrialization in a Post-pandemic World. UNIDO will prepare a summary report which will serve as a key input to the IDR 2022.

Read more on the UNIDO website here.