Economic Report on Africa 2013

Making the Most of Africa's Commodities-Industrializing for Growth, Jobs and Economic Transformation

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Africa’s growth plummeted during its ‘lost decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s while unemployment soared, and production and export bases became more concentrated. Africa boasts significant human and natural resources that can be used to promote industrialization and structural economic transformation through value-addition strategies in all sectors. This publication examines key constraints and opportunities for African countries to make the most of their commodities by adding value through linkage development. It also addresses how African countries can design and implement policies to promote value addition and economic transformation, and reduce their dependence on producing and exporting unprocessed commodities.

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Africa is at a critical juncture in its development trajectory. The global economic and geopolitical changes of the last two decades have shifted the global traditional power structures and witnessed the emergence of new powers from the South. This shift, driven largely by a revolution in information and communications technology, has led to substantial increases in cross-border capital flows and trade in intermediate goods, thus reflecting the rising importance of value chains. Changes in demography, rapid urbanization and a prolonged commodity-price boom have also made huge global changes, all of which present unprecedented opportunities for Africa to overcome its legacies and embark on a bold agenda that will see the continent emerge as a global economic power.

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