Working Paper
Should Africa Industrialize?

Africa should industrialize. Without structural change it cannot sustain recent growth. Economies with more diverse and sophisticated industrial sectors tend to grow faster. But since 1980 Africa has deindustrialized. The paper shows that between 1975 and 2005 the size, diversity and sophistication of industry in Africa have all declined. An industrialization strategy containing two elements is needed. The first is straightforward: refocusing current investment climate reforms on infrastructure, skills, and regional integration. These actions alone will not be sufficient, however. Africa must also learn to compete through strategies to create an export push, develop industrial clusters, and attract task-based production.