Industries Without Smokestacks and Structural Transformation in Africa: Overview

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An early stylized fact of development economics is that low-income countries have large differences in output per worker across sectors, and the movement of workers from low- to high-productivity sectors—structural transformation—is a key driver of growth. Historically, manufacturing has been the key driver of structural transformation. It can employ large numbers of unskilled workers, is capable of productivity gains and produces tradeable products allowing economies of scale and specialization. But manufacturing growth in Africa has lagged behind other regions, leading some observers to question Africa’s ability to catch up. This view overlooks such emerging industries as ICT, tourism, food processing, horticulture, and new services exports, which share many characteristics with manufacturing. These “industries without smokestacks” are beginning to propel growth in Africa much as traditional manufacturing did in other, fast growing regions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndustries without Smokestacks : Industrialization in Africa Reconsidered
EditorsRichard Newfarmer, John Page, Finn Tarp
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateNov 2018
ISBN (Print)9780198821885
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
SeriesWIDER Studies in Development Economics

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Africa, structural transformation, manufacturing, growth worker output, industries without smokestacks

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