Patterns of Manufacturing Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonization to the Present

40 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2016

See all articles by Gareth Austin

Gareth Austin

University of Cambridge - Faculty of History

Ewout Frankema

Wageningen UR

Morten Jerven

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - School for International Studies; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

This paper reviews the 'long twentieth-century' development of 'modern' manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa from colonization to the present. We argue that classifying Africa generically as a 'late industrializer' is inaccurate. To understand the distinctively African pattern of manufacturing growth, we focus our discussion on the dynamic interplay between the region's specific endowment structures, global economic relationships and government policies. We conclude that the case of Sub-Saharan Africa is best characterized as interrupted industrial growth instead of sustained convergence on world industrial leaders. This is partly because, until very recently, the factor endowments made it very costly for states to pursue industrialization; and partly because successive rulers, colonial and post-colonial, have rarely had both the capacity to adopt and the dedication to sustain policies that modified the region's existing comparative advantage in primary production, by using their fiscal and regulatory powers effectively to promote industrialization.

Keywords: Colonial institutions, economic history, Industrialization, Manufacturing, Sub-Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: N17, N60, O14

Suggested Citation

Austin, Gareth and Frankema, Ewout and Jerven, Morten, Patterns of Manufacturing Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonization to the Present (November 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11609. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865879

Gareth Austin (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of History ( email )

West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9EF
United Kingdom

Ewout Frankema

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

Morten Jerven

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - School for International Studies ( email )

Burnaby, V5A 1S6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.sfu.ca/internationalstudies/jerven.html

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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