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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Executive summary

The global economy has, since the turn of the century, seen vast shifts in production and trade patterns alongside the emergence of new growth poles in the South. The rapid rise of economic powers such as China, India and Brazil, the continuing financial and economic problems of industrialized countries, and ways of doing business revolutionized by advances in technology have taken the world into a new phase of globalization. This evolving order presents Africa with challenges as well as opportunities which, if met by effective policies, could lead to substantial socio-economic and political transformation, propelling the continent as a new pole of global growth.

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