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Working Paper 256 - Sub-Saharan Africa’s Manufacturing Sector: Building Complexity


Prior to 2000, there was widespread pessimism regarding Africa’s economic growth prospects. An over-reliance on mineral exports, civil war and chronic corruption had ruined many of Africa’s economies, culminating in The Economist labelling it the ‘hopeless continent’ (The Economist, 2000). Since the turn of the millennium, however, the narrative has changed. Pessimism has changed to optimism, buoyed by the growth of an African middle class (Shimeles & Ncube, 2015) and increasing foreign direct investment, which reached $60 billion in 2013—five times its 2000 level (Diop et al. 2015).

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