The Changing Structure of Africa's Economies

40 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2017

See all articles by Xinshen Diao

Xinshen Diao

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Kenneth Harttgen

University of Zurich

Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: January 30, 2017

Abstract

Data from the Groningen Growth and Development Center's Africa Sector Database and the Demographic and Health Surveys reveals that much of Africa's recent growth and poverty reduction has been associated with a substantive decline in the share of the labor force engaged in agriculture. This decline is most pronounced for rural females over the age of 25 who have a primary education; it has been accompanied by a systematic increase in the productivity of the labor force, as it has moved from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity services and manufacturing. Although the employment share in manufacturing is not expanding rapidly, in most of the low-income African countries the employment share in manufacturing has not peaked and is still expanding, albeit from very low levels. More work is needed to understand the implications of these shifts in employment shares for future growth and development in Africa south of the Sahara.

Keywords: Economic Growth, Economic Theory & Research, Industrial Economics

Suggested Citation

Diao, Xinshen and Harttgen, Kenneth and McMillan, Margaret, The Changing Structure of Africa's Economies (January 30, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7958, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2908602

Xinshen Diao (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

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Kenneth Harttgen

University of Zurich ( email )

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Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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