Africa, the following industrial energy? The query might sound extravagant. But some nations are embarking on new paths of industrialization, comparable to Mauritius, Morocco, Ethiopia and Tanzania. What's extra, a brand new deal is rising in the long run. An African proverb doesn’t say: "When a tree falls one hears it; when a forest grows, not a sound "?
The demographic query, sword of Damocles of the African growth
By 2050, greater than 2 billion ladies and men will stay on the continent, the place the following megacities will likely be hatched. The Africa of tomorrow is anxious, as migratory, ecological and social pressures will likely be strongest. However the XXI century may additionally see Africa turning into the following manufacturing unit on the earth, a difficulty that’s on the coronary heart of the debates of the Worldwide Financial Discussion board on Africa, held in Paris on October four, The African Union (AU), the Group for Financial Co-operation and Growth (OECD) and the French Growth Company (AFD, associate Monde Afrique )
Financial savings that de-industrialize
It’s usually recommended that the demographic dividend, induced by a robust development of the lively inhabitants, will inevitably result in the financial take-off of Africa, like China and India in current a long time. Nonetheless, regardless of sustained development over the previous decade, African economies have been struggling to diversify. Solely 5 merchandise account for 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's exports: oil, pure gasoline, iron, gold and bituminous minerals. Extra worrying, a few of these economies are deindustrialising. Manufacturing accounts for under 6% of employment, and its contribution to GDP, which is declining, is simply 10% in line with the World Financial institution. Africa accounted for under 2% of worldwide manufacturing exercise in 2013, down from three% in 1970, indicating its marginalization of worldwide trade.
Ethiopia, a brand new manufacturing unit on the earth
The constraints of industrialization are in truth nonetheless not lifted. The hypertrophy of rentier actions, the weak spot of governance establishments, the shortage of community infrastructure, narrowness and powerful segmentation of markets discourage funding and block diversification of economies. Manufacturing and export prices in Africa are twice as excessive as in Asia. Historical past additionally counts. Industrialization, too late and too quick to arrange an industrial base, was instantly interrupted by the debt disaster and the extreme structural adjustment applications of the 1980s.
Gold 20 million new property will arrive every year within the labor market over the following decade. Development fashions primarily based on the exploitation of major assets usually are not sustainable. A brand new strategic ambition is required.
Chinafrique: behind the official speeches, "the obsession with money"
First, rising (or "emerging") nations will weigh extra closely on the brand new dynamics of globalization. Doesn’t China – now the world's main financial energy – have interaction in a Marshall Plan for Africa by way of the One Belt One Street initiative (the brand new Silk Street)? The huge financing of infrastructure and capital investments in giant corporations on the continent is a logic of redeployment of Chinese language trade past the Asian continent.
China's overcapacity in manufacturing and rising wages will result in the relocation of labor-intensive actions, notably in nations that profit from commerce preferences with OECD nations, different African nations. Morocco, by signing an settlement with China in March to host 200 industries within the north of the nation, absolutely understood the positive factors it may make from a double integration within the European space and the Financial Neighborhood of the States of West Africa (ECOWAS).
Then, the climatic constraint will rework the modes of entry to power in the long run. Sooner or later, the power will likely be much less fossil, extra produced close to the locations the place will probably be consumed and maybe cheaper. In Africa, the excessive potential of renewable energies (together with photo voltaic, hydro and wind) – if achieved – would scale back power dependence whereas positively affecting industrial competitiveness. As well as, the emergence of center courses would encourage the event of processing industries to reply to quickly rising city markets. The ecological transition of the continent turns into, on this sense, a lever of industrialization.
Will France have the ability to press the "restart" key for Africa?
Lastly, the diffusion of technological advances, extra lately within the digital and synthetic intelligence, accelerates the convergence of commercial actions and companies. Obstacles to entry are nonetheless obtainable to stimulate entrepreneurship in excessive value-added actions. Enterprises are rising in South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia within the fields of pc engineering and robotics, regardless of the generally tough political and social context.
Africa is not going to emerge following the mannequin of postindustrial society defended by sure economists. Quite the opposite, because of a restored attractiveness, an considerable expert workforce, an power and technological potential, the best way of trade is open to him. So, can Africa not grow to be the brand new manufacturing unit of the world in 2050?
Mihoub Mezouaghi is an economist with the French Growth Company (AFD).