Why Africa Needs to Move from ‘Developing’ To ‘Industrial’ Continent Explained


The renowned development economist Ha-Joon Chang gave the 2016 annual Adebayo Adedeji Lecture during the ECA-AU African Development Week held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 31st-April 5th. Chang, the author of widely discussed policy books such as Kicking Away the Ladder and23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism and Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, explained that with the end of China’s super-growth and the fall in commodity prices, the “Africa Rising” narrative and prospects for the continent’s continued growth are starting to dim. In his lecture and special ECA report Transformative Industrial Policy for Africa, Chang argues that it is now “important that African countries begin to think seriously about – and implement – ways to upgrade their commodity sectors and, more importantly, promote the development of higher productivity sectors, especially manufacturing.” More about the ECA in this BRIEFING.

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“The talk of “African growth tragedy” is being replaced by a talk of “Africa rising”, with metaphors like “African lions” – in obvious homage to that of “Asian tigers” – flying around… The failure of most African countries to use the recent commodity-based growth to start a more sustainable growth based on the development of the manufacturing sector (including but not exclusively the processing of primary commodities) is making the continent’s long-term prospect worrisome – no country, except a few states exceptionally rich in oil (e.g., Qatar, Kuwait, Brunei) or very small financial havens (e.g., Monaco, Liechtenstein), has achieved high and sustainable standards of living without developing a significant manufacturing sector” – ECA’s Transformative Industrial Policy for Africa Report



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