Made in Africa: Learning to Compete in Industry

In This Review

Made in Africa: Learning to Compete in Industry
By Carol Newman, John Page, John Rand, Abebe Shimeles, Mans Soderbom, and Finn Tarp
Brookings Institution Press, 2016
306 pp.
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Based on eight case studies of countries in sub-Saharan African, this book argues for a renewed emphasis on industrial development in Africa. The authors start with the premise that the industrial sector is the key to rapid and sustained economic development in the region. They believe that Africa’s industrial performance has been marred by poor policies that have undermined productivity and suggest that better results will require investment in export-oriented industries, from which rapidly developing Asian countries are beginning to divest. Through careful firm-level analysis, the authors conclude that the single most important factor is the need to create more competition. Their policy recommendations include some familiar measures, such as improving infrastructure and embracing regulatory reforms to increase foreign direct investment. More interesting is their proposal to promote the development of “firm clusters”—hubs where companies with complementary skills can learn from one another.

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