The World Bank's strategy for Africa's future recognizes the central importance of industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the consequent creation of productive jobs for Africans, which have long been a preoccupation of African leaders and policy makers. This book represents an attempt to address these issues. The book stresses that, while the recent turnaround in Africa's economic growth is encouraging, this growth must be accompanied by structural transformation to be sustainable and to create productive employment for its people. For many African countries, this transformation involves lifting workers from low-productivity agriculture and informal sectors into higher productivity activities. Light manufacturing can offer a viable solution for Sub-Saharan Africa, given its potential competitiveness that is based on low wage costs and abundance of natural resources that supply raw materials needed for industries. This study has five features that distinguish it from previous studies. First, the detailed studies on light manufacturing at the subsector and product levels in five countries provide in-depth cost comparisons between Asia and Africa. Second, building on a growing body of work, the report uses a wide array of quantitative and qualitative techniques, including quantitative surveys and value chain analysis, to identify key constraints to enterprises and to evaluate differences in firm performance across countries. Third, the findings that firm constraints vary by country, sector, and firm size led us to adopt a targeted approach to identifying constraints and combining market-based measures and selected government interventions to remove them. Fourth, the solution to light manufacturing problems cuts across many sectors and does not lie only in manufacturing alone. Solving the problem of manufacturing inputs requires solving specific issues in agriculture, education, and infrastructure. Fifth, the report draws on experiences and solutions from other developing countries to inform its recommendations. The report's goal is to find practical ways to increase employment and spur job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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