14 January 2016 | Africa’s industrialisation: reversing the decline

Africa’s industrialisation: reversing the decline | Event | Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

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Manufacturing plays a key role in the process of economic transformation that is required for high quality growth, job creation and sustained progress. Yet the share of manufacturing in GDP has been falling in Sub-Saharan Africa over the last three decades and was just 11% in 2014. Recent estimates indicate that the role of manufacturing in driving growth and transformation is likely to decline further. Industrialisation expert John Page links this decline to bad luck and bad policy.

But there are also some positive signs. Manufacturing production has been increasing faster in Sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world, and it now makes up  a greater share in world manufacturing than fifteen years ago. Recently, several Asian firms have set up new manufacturing operations in African special economic zones such as in Ethiopia.

John Page joins a panel of experts to explore the challenges and prospects for industrialisation in Africa.The panel will discuss what caused the lack of industrialisation in sub-Saharan Africa and what can be done to improve it.


ODI has undertaken research on industrialisation in the context of a project with JICA on the role of Kaizen and through the SET Programme.


Dirk Willem te Velde– Head of International Economic Development Group (IEDG) and Director, Supporting Economic Transformation (SET)

Lead presenter:

John Page – Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution


Nick Lea – Deputy Chief Economist,  DFID

Kimiaki Jin – Chief Representative, JICA Ethiopia

Helen Hai – CEO Huajian Company in Ethiopia, Goodwill Ambassador for UNIDO

Machiko Nissanke – Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London

Stephen Gelb – Senior Research Fellow Team Leader, Private Sector Development, IEDG, ODI


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