The Politics and Economics of Industrialisation as a Route to Job Creation

Faced with the job creation challenge, but also with the lack of diversification of many African economies, industrialisation has returned firmly on the economic agenda. There may indeed be an opportunity: the gradual increases in wage costs in Asia, as well as trade preferences such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), have increased interest by large multinationals in sectors such as in textiles and garments. At the same time, scholars such as Rodrik (2014) have argued that this opportunity is unlikely to be successful. This skepticism is not stopping Africa-wide political narratives about the need for industrialisation. One example is Ethiopia, which has grown fast in the last two decades and determinedly pursues manufacturing investments via industrial parks.

The result of the research as part of this theme will offer a comprehensive view of the political, social and economic drivers and consequences of Ethiopia’s drive to industrialisation. Many African countries are following Ethiopia’s experience; across all our studies a key question will be what others can learn of the success and pitfalls of this drive to industrialisation.

Lead researchers

Jo Boyden (ODID) and Douglas Gollin (ODID)

Research team

Chris Adam (ODID), Stefano Caria (ODID), Katrina Charles (Geography), Cheryl Doss (ODID), Marta Favara (ODID), Pramila Krishnan (ODID), Simon Quinn (Economics)