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Patterns of Manufacturing Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonization to the Present

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  • Austin, Gareth
  • Frankema, Ewout
  • Jerven, Morten

Abstract

This paper reviews the 'long twentieth-century' development of 'modern' manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa from colonization to the present. We argue that classifying Africa generically as a 'late industrializer' is inaccurate. To understand the distinctively African pattern of manufacturing growth, we focus our discussion on the dynamic interplay between the region's specific endowment structures, global economic relationships and government policies. We conclude that the case of Sub-Saharan Africa is best characterized as interrupted industrial growth instead of sustained convergence on world industrial leaders. This is partly because, until very recently, the factor endowments made it very costly for states to pursue industrialization; and partly because successive rulers, colonial and post-colonial, have rarely had both the capacity to adopt and the dedication to sustain policies that modified the region's existing comparative advantage in primary production, by using their fiscal and regulatory powers effectively to promote industrialization.

Suggested Citation

  • Austin, Gareth & Frankema, Ewout & Jerven, Morten, 2016. "Patterns of Manufacturing Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonization to the Present," CEPR Discussion Papers 11609, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11609
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ewout Frankema & Jeffrey Williamson & Pieter Woltjer, 2015. "An Economic Rationale for the African Scramble: The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1845-1885," NBER Working Papers 21213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rodrik, Dani, 2014. "An African Growth Miracle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10005, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 696-739.
    4. Gaaitzen de Vries & Marcel Timmer & Klaas de Vries, 2015. "Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 674-688, June.
    5. Frankema, Ewout & Waijenburg, Marlous Van, 2012. "Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880–1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 895-926, December.
    6. John Sender, 1999. "Africa's Economic Performance: Limitations of the Current Consensus," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 89-114, Summer.
    7. Xinshen Diao & Margaret McMillan, 2015. "Toward an Understanding of Economic Growth in Africa: A Re-Interpretation of the Lewis Model," NBER Working Papers 21018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Francis Teal, 1999. "Why Can Mauritius Export Manufactures and Ghana Not?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(7), pages 981-993, September.
    9. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    10. Francis Teal, 1999. "Why can Mauritius export manufactures and Ghana not?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Kaoru Sugihara, 2007. "The Second Noel Butlin Lecture: Labour-Intensive Industrialisation In Global History," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 47(2), pages 121-154, July.
    12. Mkandawire, Thandika, 2001. "Thinking about Developmental States in Africa," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 289-313, May.
    13. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," NBER Working Papers 18490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2011. "Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015158.
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    16. Morten Jerven, 2011. "The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post‐colonial economic performance revisited," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 288-307, March.
    17. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-136 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Ewout Frankema & Jeffrey Williamson & Pieter Woltjer, 2015. "An Economic Rationale for the African Scramble: The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1845-1885," NBER Working Papers 21213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colonial institutions; economic history; Industrialization; Manufacturing; Sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N60 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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