The results of this first edition of the African Industrialization Index of the African Development Bank show that most African countries are making slow and steady progress on industrial development. A handful of countries have already developed sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. The top quintile in the AII ranking includes South Africa, three North African countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt), along with Mauritius, Eswatini, Namibia, Côte d’Ivoire…
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Industrialization is central to Africa’s development prospects with its young labour force, abundant natural resources and fast-growing internal markets. It is the inaugural edition of The African Industrialization Index (AII), a flagship initiative by the African Development Bank (AfDB or Bank) to strengthen knowledge around drivers of industrial development. It aims at providing the first ever comprehensive picture of the progress being made on industrial development across the continent, covering 52 of 54 African countries for the period 2010 to 2019.
The African Industrialization Index shows that industrial development is taking place across the continent. The strongest progress was seen in Benin, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal and Seychelles, all of which lifted their ranking by five or more places over the 2010–2019 period.
In the ‘Performance’ sub-index, countries that perform well, include those that generate
the highest manufacturing value-added per capita, with a substantial share of their manufacturing output destined for export. In particular, Eritrea and Mauritania improved their rankings significantly, driven by strong export performance.
Africa Industrialization Index 2022
Overall, many countries have made significant gains in their industrial development over the coverage period 2010–2021, with 37 of 52 Regional Country Members improving their AII score. However, some countries recorded only a marginal improvement, thereby falling in the ranking as the score was not enough to boost it, while others performed satisfactorily. Only 25 countries improved their rank and 4 remained in the same position as in 2010.
The median score rose from 0.4930 in 2010 to 0.5144 in 2021, a 4.3% increase, while the AII imputed for the entire continent rose from 0.5026 in 2010 to 0.5270 in 2021. The range of scores of the top ten countries narrowed from 0.5766- 0.8957 in 2010 to 0.6014–0.8404 in 2021. In addition, the range of scores of the bottom ten countries improved from 0.3215-0.3972 in 2010 to 0.3455-0.4409 in 2021.
South Africa is the closest economy to the frontier with an industrial development score of 0.8404 in 2021. The country’s performance has however been shrinking in the last decade, from 0.8957 in 2010, its highest score in the 2010-2021 period. Mauritius, Eswatini, Namibia (top), Botswana and Zambia (upper‑middle) follow South Africa in the top-ranked countries within the Southern region. Mauritius remained fifth since 2010, but its index decreased by 1.7%.
In West Africa, Senegal, Nigeria (top), Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin (upper‑middle) are the advanced countries in industrial development. Kenya and Uganda (upper‑middle) stand at the best in East Africa, whereas Central Africa is led by Gabon, followed by Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (upper‑middle), Congo and Cameroon (middle).
Industrialization is central to Africa’s development. Building productive industry is the most promising strategy for creating formal jobs at scale and promoting growth whose benefits are widely shared. This is recognised in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of promoting “inclusive and sustainable industrialization”. It is also the foundation for achieving many of Africa’s development objectives. Its importance is clearly articulated in the African Union’s 2011 Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa and reaffirmed in Agenda 2063.