Industrialization in the digital age
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
United Nations. Economic and Social Council;
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No country, with very few exceptions, has developed without industrializing first. Over the past couple of decades, industrialization has re-emerged as the core objective of Africa’s development agenda. The action plan for the accelerated industrial development of Africa serves as the main framework for the continent’s industrialization. the African Union has reaffirmed the continent’s commitment to industrialization with its agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, which included the promotion of sectoral and productivity plans and regional and commodity value chains. Africa is industrializing in a very different global environment, as compared to what existed in 2008 when the action plan for the accelerated industrial development of Africa was adopted. The fourth industrial revolution is rapidly evolving and transforming the traditional labour-intensive path to industrialization. The industrial path in Africa, as has been promoted, is unlikely to support transformation for Africa in the current setting. At the same time, while the rise of the digital economy is having an impact across the continent, a substantial digital divide between African countries and the rest of the world exists. To advance poverty reduction and catch up with other countries, African policymakers and businesses need to adapt to the new digital climate and innovate in this space. Although the fourth industrial revolution presents challenges for African countries, it also offers an opportunity for industrial leapfrogging, which should not be missed. The digital economy is transforming value chains, skills development, production and trade globally. Although the fourth industrial revolution may not yet be in immediate sight for Africa, these changes will have major implications for the continent’s industrialization efforts.
Citation“United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa; United Nations. Economic and Social Council (2017). Industrialization in the digital age. Addis Ababa. © UN.ECA. ”
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