New economic report on Africa reveals promising industrialization

Mahlet Fasil


The 2014 edition of the Economic Commission for Africa flagship report was launched Monday in Addis Ababa, with the unanimous view that industrialization is crucial to Africa’s continued development. Aptly themed, “Dynamic Industrial Policy in Africa,” the Report outlines several key messages, including the crucial fact that “industrial policy in Africa is essential if we are to address market failures and build capabilities within the continent.”In remarks at the opening, Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECA reiterated Africa’s current narrative of economic progress and successful development and said, “We are witnessing a growth assertiveness on the continent that has resulted in better macroeconomic performance like never before.”

Citing the development of mobile banking in Kenya, Mr. Hamdok added that 
African countries are now making such great strides in technology that they are 
becoming exporters of technology. Yet as cautioned by Hamdok, the continent 
still faces challenges on its path to industrialization. He told the forum that 
African countries must now depart from the past and institute a different kind
 of industrial policy framework. “This is why we continue to dig further on this 
particular theme, because it was not enough to make the case for
 industrialization, we have to demonstrate how it should be 
done,” he said.


He highlighted several vital findings of the report, including the fact that industrial 
policy goals must be driven by priorities. “The common underlying imperative
 is that State support is vital to addressing market failures and institutionalizing 
industrial policy at the highest levels of government so that it becomes part and 
parcel of the regular decision-making and monitoring mechanism, stressed 
Hamdok.“It is possible for African countries to become industrialized 
and more so, that this is the time for it to happen as the ERA 
2014 tries to demonstrate,” he added.
For his part, the Director of ECA’s Macroeconomic Policy Division, 
Mr. Adam Elhiraika emphasized that Africa’s growth story “is not 
just an oil and ineral story as countries without these resources 
are growing economically similar to their counterparts.”


“In Africa, trade within the continent is more conducive to growth 
because it is more diversified and more industrialized,” he said 
and mentioned that ganda is currently the main trading partner 
to Kenya.Mr. Elhraika presented the report’s outcomes, stating 
the requirements for a successful industrial policy framework. 
These include among others, the need for the framework to be 
dynamic and organic; to foster continuous dialogue between the 
country’s public and private sector and the assurance of high 
level coordination and political support from the country’s 


In response to the report, Mr. Ahmed Nuru, Special Adviser to the 
Ethiopia’s State Minister for Industry, Federal Democratic Republic
 of Ethiopia said that Africa has been on a growth trajectory for 
the past decade.  “The role of the government is very key in terms of 
filling the gaps of industrialization within the continent”, he said.


Mr Endalkachew Sime, Deputy Secretary General and Advocacy 
Department Manager, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and 
Sectoral Association told the forum that “there is a delicate 
balance to be dealt with in promoting private sector development 
in Africa and industrialization is all about advocating resources 
for better development.”
Mr Nebil Kellow, Chief Executive Officer of First Consult in 
Ethiopia recommended the need for African governments to be 
clear areas of focus in relation to the quest for effective 
industrialization as the sector, industry and country involved 
is all equally relevant. He said that the roles of leading enterprises 
and the understanding of their capabilities are crucial to 



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