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Industrialisation and Trade Corner

Harnessing productive sectors’ through value chains to enhance intra-African trade and regional integration

Integrating Africa is the AfDB Group’s blog on regional integration in Africa. It chronicles the issues arising from African countries’ efforts as they work to pool resources and integrate their economies for the development of their regional and individual economies.

22 Aug 2019

Towards a sustainable textile and fashion industry in Africa

The textile and fashion industry is a key contributor to global warming, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions. This makes the industry the second largest industrial polluter after the oil and gas industry. Total emissions from textile production, at 1.2 billion tons annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined[1]. And it is not getting better: the United Nations framework convention on climate change expects the sector’s emissions to rise by more than 60% by 2030. But on the flipside, the textile and fashion industry holds immense...
26 Jun 2019

Fostering African integration through creative works – the case of the fashion industry

The creative industries, particularly fashion and design, are evolving quickly and drawing career interest within African societies, politics and business. They are expected to provide well-paid jobs and help talented Africans to achieve their full potential. But as a fledgling industry, fashion faces key hurdles, such as establishing the basic infrastructure, gaining access to finance, and developing sales outlets. While raw talent might get a thriving career started, it is not enough to make the transition from an informal business to a medium-to-large-sized business, which can tap into...
15 Mar 2019

Investing in digital literacy for grassroots transformation in Kenya

Kenya is experiencing a “youth bulge”. At least 20% of the country’s population is made up of youth between the ages of 15 and 24. This could be a big advantage if young people have access to economic opportunities, particularly information and communication technology. But the reality is different. Currently, youth unemployment is high, estimated at about 22% in 2016. This trend is true for the most beautiful coastal part of Kenya. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the coastal region has around 3.3 million people, spanning the six (6) counties of Kwale, Kilifi,...
11 Feb 2019

Addressing Subnational Inequalities to Advance Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda

When it comes to Africa’s delivery on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the policies of national governments and their partners will determine the continent’s overall success. Inclusive development policies will be pivotal to this. Africa is trailing other regions when it comes to the SDGs, which were introduced in 2015. And there is reason for concern with respect to inclusive development policies, especially on the back of marked imbalances in development in most African countries. By 2030, the target year for the attainment of the 17 SDGs, Africa’s performance will be a...
31 Jan 2019

Building Africa’s Manufacturing Strength in the Textile and Clothing Sector

The rise of the fast fashion industry in the past few years has brought in its wake a booming trade of second-hand clothing. Today, millions of people around the world donate clothes with the understanding that they will support the needy or will be resold in secondhand stores. But are increased imports into Africa of second-hand clothing from developed countries consistent with the contemporary agenda of African economies, which is to industrialize and add value, rather than to consume? This is at the heart of the recent trade dispute between African economies, particularly those in the...
17 Jan 2019

Africa’s Historic Pivot

It might not be obvious to the casual observer, but Africa is undergoing something of a revolution when it comes to economic policymaking. Risking recrimination and worse from their traditional Western patrons, the continent’s governments are finally demonstrating a willingness to chart their own course. The year 2018 was marked by tremendous economic and political turbulence around the world. And yet, for future historians, it may well be the year when Africa started to claim its intellectual and economic-policy independence. The unlikely trigger for what could turn out to be a...
04 Jun 2018

Developing the private sector as a key enabler of sustainable industrialization

“Industrialize Africa” is an integral element of the African Development Bank’s ambitious strategy to transform the continent. It involves economies transitioning from low- to high-productivity sectors; from agriculture to agro-industries; from raw mineral resources to high-value semi-processed and/or processed exports.   The Bank plans to help double the continent’s industrial GDP by 2025 by investing US $3.5 billion per year over the next 10 years through six flagship industrialization programs: Fostering successful industrial policies; Catalyzing funding in infrastructure and...
31 May 2018

Energy as an engine of Africa’s industrialization

With the lowest power consumption per capita in the world, sub-Sahara Africa is arguably the darkest section of the global village with investments, social and economic growth and jobs creation hobbled by frequent outages, load shedding and total black outs. Over 645 million Africans lack access to electricity. Yet the continent is rich in energy resources, with well over 10 terawatts of solar potential, 350 gigawatts of hydroelectric potential, 110 gigawatts of wind potential, and an additional 15 gigawatts of geothermal potential. All of these is outside Africa’s huge reserves of coal...
31 May 2018

What Korea’s industrialization success means for Africa

Despite a decade’s worth of headline-grabbing economic growth, Africa’s experience with industrialization remains disappointing. Sixty-two percent of the continent’s total export products (link is external) are in primary form, signaling the limited role of manufacturing in driving development. Sub-Saharan Africa’s average share of manufacturing value added to GDP, at around 10 percent, is unchanged from the 1970s. A popular prescription is that Africa should follow the path set by East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, which used industrialization to lift themselves permanently...
31 May 2018

Capturing Africa’s niche in the global value chains

Africa sits on vast resources. Of greater potential than its extractive resources such as oil, diamonds, gold, or cobalt, is its population bulge. By 2030, it is projected that Africa will have 1.7 billion people, whose combined consumer and business spending is expected to reach $6.7 trillion. This demographic dividend – if properly harnessed – offers the continent an incredible opportunity to build a strong labour-intensive manufacturing base. Africa has the fastest-growing youth population in the world, with 60 percent of its population under age 24. A robust manufacturing sector...