Economic Report on Africa 2014

Dynamic Industrial Policy in Africa

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For millions of Africans, growth is yet to translate into jobs and better living conditions. Africa’s largely commodity- driven growth has not been matched by the much needed structural change that can lead to economic transformation, employment, and reduced poverty. Market failures necessitate industrial policy interventions. Yet, in the absence of the right processes and institutions, good industrial policies will fail. Indeed, weak institutions and poor policy design have hindered industrial policy. This report gives a framework for getting the policy process right to foster industrialization. It uses 11 country case studies to assess the critical ingredients for spurring industrialization – innovative institutions, effective processes and flexible mechanisms – and structural transformation.

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Executive summary

One of the most puzzling paradoxes over the last decade is that Africa has benefited from unprecedented growth while a large part of its population remained trapped in economic poverty, facing rampant unemployment and inequality. The continent has averaged 5 per cent a year growth over the last decade, with some countries returning more than 7 per cent. Underpinning this growth were relatively high commodity prices, increased domestic demand (due especially to increased private investment in infrastructure and energy) and improved economic governance and management.

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