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The changing structure of Africa's economies

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  • Diao,Xinshen
  • Harttgen,Kenneth
  • Mcmillan,Margaret S.

Abstract

Data from the Groningen Growth and Development Center's Africa Sector Database and the Demographic and Health Surveys reveals that much of Africa's recent growth and poverty reduction has been associated with a substantive decline in the share of the labor force engaged in agriculture. This decline is most pronounced for rural females over the age of 25 who have a primary education; it has been accompanied by a systematic increase in the productivity of the labor force, as it has moved from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity services and manufacturing. Although the employment share in manufacturing is not expanding rapidly, in most of the low-income African countries the employment share in manufacturing has not peaked and is still expanding, albeit from very low levels. More work is needed to understand the implications of these shifts in employment shares for future growth and development in Africa south of the Sahara.

Suggested Citation

  • Diao,Xinshen & Harttgen,Kenneth & Mcmillan,Margaret S., 2017. "The changing structure of Africa's economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7958, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7958
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    3. Azenui, Ngwinui Belinda & Rada, Codrina, 2021. "Labor productivity growth in sub-Sahara African LDCs: sectoral contributions and macroeconomic factors," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 10-26.
    4. Mensah, Emmanuel B., 2020. "Is sub-Saharan Africa deindustrializing?," MERIT Working Papers 2020-045, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Owusu, Solomon & Szirmai, Adam & Foster-McGregor, Neil, 2020. "The rise of the service sector in the global economy," MERIT Working Papers 2020-056, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Ecker, Olivier, 2018. "Agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security in Ghana: Does farm production diversity (still) matter for household dietary diversity?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 271-282.
    7. Senadza Bernardin & Nketiah-Amponsah Edward & Ampaw Samuel, 2018. "Nonfarm diversification and the well-being of rural farm households in developing countries: Evidence from Ghana using new dataset," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 69(3), pages 207-229, December.
    8. Liu, Yanyan & Barrett, Christopher B. & Pham, Trinh & Violette, William, 2020. "The intertemporal evolution of agriculture and labor over a rapid structural transformation: Lessons from Vietnam," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    9. Atolia, Manoj & Loungani, Prakash & Marquis, Milton & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2020. "Rethinking development policy: What remains of structural transformation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    10. Ecker, O., 2018. "Agricultural Transformation and Food and Nutrition Security: Does Farm Production Diversity (Still) Matter for Dietary Diversity among Ghanaian Farm Households?," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 276999, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Mensah, Emmanuel & Owusu, Solomon & Foster-McGregor, Neil & Szirmai, Adam, 2018. "Structural change, productivity growth and labour market turbulence in Africa," MERIT Working Papers 2018-025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Growth; Economic Theory&Research; Industrial Economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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