Structural transformation in Africa: New technologies, resurgent entrepreneurship and the revival of manufacturing

Wim Naudé

#2018-045

In this paper I argue that manufacturing is still important for structural transformation in Africa. Despite failing to industrialize in the past, there may be a new window of opportunity. This is due to the convergence of new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a resurgence of start-up entrepreneurship. In this light I (i) show why manufacturing is vital for African economies, (ii) critically analyze the nature and impact, both in terms of opportunities and risks, of the new technologies associated with the 4IR for Africa; (iii) describe the resurgence of tech start-up entrepreneurship in Africa and (iv) call for policy support in the form of complimentary investments and regulations to allow entrepreneurs to utilize opportunities and to minimize threats. The paper show that a new narrative for African structural transformation is possible.

JEL Classification: O33, O14, O55, L52, L26

Keywords: Technology, industry 4.0, entrepreneurship, development, Africa

  


UNU-MERIT