Issues in Africa's Industrial Policy Process

Matsuo Watanabe and Atsushi Hanatani

in Good Growth and Governance in Africa

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199698561
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738142 | DOI:

Series: Initiative for Policy Dialogue

Issues in Africa's Industrial Policy Process

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This article explores the possibility of industrial policy in Africa based on Asia's experience from the 1970s onwards. African economies have seen a good performance in recent years. The growth pattern, however, remains largely dependent on world commodity prices. For the economies to realize a sustainable growth, the structure has to be diversified and upgraded. In this context, government-led industrialization can be an effective means for latecomers where markets are imperfect and risks are high for nascent private enterprises, despite persistent skeptical views on the governments’ insufficient capacity, rent-seeking, and corruption. It is certainly ridiculous to simply transplant the Asian experience to Africa because of the differences in international/domestic political, economic, geographic, and social conditions. Donors may want to acknowledge the diverse national contexts and to encourage Africa's trial-and-error approach and closer collaboration between public and private sectors, rather than to lay down “best practices.”

Keywords: Africa; industrial policy; Asian experience; national context; trial-and-error; policy space; public–private partnership

Chapter.  12920 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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