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New drivers of African manufacturing

Africa’s share of global manufacturing only sits at around 2% today. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The emerging efforts to raise Africa’s share of global manufacturing have been explored in the latest issue of African Review

Manufacturing was a key topic of scrutiny in the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) recently-published ‘2024 African Economic Outlook’, which sought to influence inclusive growth across the continent. While noting that a “single-minded” focus on development through manufacturing should make way for advancing regional diversity and encouragement of wider sectors, it stated that developing manufacturing and reducing the size of exports of unprocessed raw materials “must be part of the economic transformation strategy of African countries.”

While the continent’s share of global manufacturing sits at a paltry 2% today, the development of the sector is still widely regarded as crucial to its ongoing industrialisation and future prosperity. By shaking off the post-colonial reputation as a feedstock for global industrialised economies, African nations can ensure greater value is captured from their vast pool of resources.

Here, a significant opportunity emerges in the form of the continent’s abundance of minerals critical to the energy transition. Already, Africa is positioning itself at the heart of global critical mineral production with countries such as DRC, for example, responsible for more than 70% of global cobalt output. Calls to maximise the reach of these resources are increasing in volume. Speaking at UNCTAD’s ‘Maximising Africa’s Potential’ event in Addis Ababa, UN Economic Commission for Africa’s deputy executive secretary, Antonio Pedro, remarked, “Imagine the potential if African minerals are processed into African batteries, installed into African cars that are driven across the continent and the world... This would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the electrification of transport systems on the continent, create decent jobs and make Africa a competitive hub for green industrialisation.”

Click here to read the full article in the latest issue of African Review, including the initiatives being undertaken to realise the green mineral opportunity and the future market for medical manufacturing.

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