Economic Development in Africa Report 2012

Structural Transformation and Sustainable Development in Africa

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This report provides concrete policy recommendations for African policy makers and their development partners on how to promote sustainable structural transformation in Africa, meaning a sustainable structural transformation that integrates the relative decoupling of natural resource use and environmental impacts from the growth process. The Report also discusses why a strategy of sustainable structural transformation is important for Africa, how strategic priorities can be identified and the role of the national State and the international community in such a strategy.

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Policies for sustainable structural transformation

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate selected sectoral policies that can be implemented, at a national level, to promote SST in Africa. The chapter is based on the view elaborated in the last chapter that production sector policies, such as industrial, should be at the heart of efforts to promote relative resource and impact decoupling. The chapter focuses on three sectors: energy, industry and agriculture. These sectors have been identified as critically important for Africa’s structural transformation and sustainable development (New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), 2001; AU/NEPAD African Action Plan 2010-2015; ECA, 2011b). Building on last year’s Economic Development in Africa Report, this chapter argues that a green industrial policy should lie at the heart of strategies of SST in Africa. However, given the findings in chapter 2 on the low levels of land-use efficiency, the scale of land productivity losses and the prevalence of energy poverty in Africa, it is also necessary to have policies which promote sustainable agricultural intensification and increased access to energy, particularly sustainable energy. The chapter highlights policies which can promote the development of productive capacities in these areas as well as relative resource and impact decoupling.

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