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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State of value addition and industrial policy in Africa

The need for African countries to make the most of commodities for industrialization, growth, jobs and economic transformation is the focus of this chapter. The chapter shows that Africa depends excessively on primary commodity exports, which makes it difficult to create decent jobs. Its average export concentration index has increased since 1995. Compared with both Asian least developed countries and Latin American commodity exporters, Africa shows significantly higher commodity dependence, obviously enhanced by the commodity price boom.

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