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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Can Sub-Saharan Africa Be a Manufacturing Destination?

A new paper coauthored by Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, Divyanshi Wadhwa, and myself suggests that Africa is not, in general, poised to embark on a manufacturing-led take-off, stepping into the shoes of emerging Asia. Africa, including those countries that have come to be regarded as leaders in development, has high manufacturing labor costs relative to GDP as well as high capital costs relative to low-income comparators.

Talking about Tax Is Taxing: Pretending It Is Simple Will Hurt the Poor

Here’s an obvious truth: tax lost to trade misinvoicing in Africa does not equal tax lost to transfer mispricing by multinational corporations in Sierra Leone, which does not equal lost health-care spending. Unfortunately, a policy paper released on Tuesday by Oxfam makes exactly these equivalences. This sort of imprecision is widespread, and it’s not going to help the poor.

Why Don't African Firms Create More Jobs?

Many countries in Africa suffer high rates of under-employment or low rates of productive employment; many also anticipate large numbers of people entering the workforce in the near future. It is estimated that the working age population will rise to almost 800 million in 2030, up from the current number of 466 million.  In our new paper , we ask the question— are African firms employing fewer people than firms located in other parts of the world? And if so, why? 

Viewing Africa from Beijing

This past week, a group of researchers and policymakers from Africa, China, Europe and North America gathered at the National School of Development, Peking University to discuss economic development in Africa.  The event was the authors’ workshop for the first edition Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics. Over 40 papers were presented in parallel sessions on topics ranging from Africa’s underground economy to the economics of malaria and China's investments in Africa.

Is Agribusiness the Key to Africa’s Growth?

Today, the World Bank launched a new report, "Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness." The report argues that agriculture and agribusiness should be at the top of the development and business agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Bank is right to emphasize this issue--of the $25 billion of food that African countries import annually, only $1 billion comes from other African countries. The report offers a clear and well-researched exposition of the state and prospects of African agribusiness. It is broad in scope, encompassing agricultural production and upstream input markets as well as supply chains and agro-processing.

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