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Africa Economic Brief – Volume 9 issue 02 - Industrialization: Lessons from China for North Africa


How can developing economies escape from the trap of middle- or low-income status in which the majority has been for decades? Drawing lessons from the experiences of China, this piece argues that an economically successful country must have the market as its foundation with, on top of that, the state playing an active, facilitating role.

It is a dream for every developing country to become a modern, industrialized, high-income country. Yet among nearly 200 developing economies after the Second World War, so far only two the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, China have grown from low- to high-income. China may become the third by 2025.

Among the 101 middle-income economies in 1960, only 13 became high income by 2008. Of the 13, eight were European countries, which had a smaller income gap at the beginning, or oil-producing countries. The other five were Japan and four small East Asian economies: Hong Kong, China; Singapore; Republic of Korea; and Taiwan, China.

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