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Is African Industry Competing?

  • Sanjaya Lall (QEH)

Africa's industrial performance has been poor and its ability to industrialize successfully is under increasing question. This paper argues that industrialization remains vital to African development. It describes the current global industrial setting and analyses the recent performance of African manufacturing relative to that of other developing regions. It finds that Africa is becoming increasingly marginal to the technological dynamics of global economy. It shows few signs of a responding to the competitive stimulus of liberalization or of attracting more mobile foreign productive factors. It analyses the reasons for this performance and argues that the basic problem of African industry lies not in the investment climate (which can certainly be improved) or in gaining market access to rich countries (which is already very good for manufactures, and has improved with initiatives like AGOA) but in the low level of its industrial capabilities. The paper concludes with the need to reconsider current African industrial strategy and to evolve a new strategy focused on building capabilities.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps122.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps122
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  1. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Easterly, William R & Pack, Howard, 2003. "Low Investment Is Not the Constraint on African Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 547-71, April.
  2. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
  3. Sanjaya Lall, Manuel Albaladejo and Jinkang Zhang (QEH), . "Mapping Fragmentation: Electronics and Automobiles in East Asia and Latin America," QEH Working Papers qehwps115, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  4. Sanjaya Lall, 2005. "FDI, AGOA and Manufactured Exports by a Landlocked, Least Developed African Economy: Lesotho," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 998-1022.
  5. repec:idb:brikps:8551 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Sanjaya Lall and Manuel Albaladejo, . "Indicators of the Relative Importance of IPRs In Developing Countries," QEH Working Papers qehwps85, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  7. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
  8. Biggs, T. & Shah, M. & Srivastava, P., 1995. "Technological Capabilities and Learning in African Enterprises," Papers 288, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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