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Africa cannot achieve industrial transformation without thinks tanks

Côte d'Ivoire
09 Apr, 2017

… Summit urges governments, already under political pressures, to heed the informed advice of think tanks and support them to push Africa’s transformation

Abidjan, 09 April 2017 (ACCBF) – Achieving shared and sustained economic growth in Africa, especially through resource-based industrialization, would only be a pipe dream if states do not support and act on the evidence put before them by many of the 700 established think tanks on the continent. This is one of the main calls-to-action of the 4th Africa Think Tank Summit convened by the African Capacity Building Foundation – that has rounded off in the Ivorian capital.

Held in a context of an end to the recent commodity super cycle which has exposed African countries that are over–dependent on collecting rents from the sale of natural resources and raw materials to considerable economic shocks, the Summit attendees from all over Africa declared that “a key area of intervention of  [African] think tanks is to design, and advise on public policies aimed at promoting industrialization to private sector activities and interests in order to support private sector-driven industrial development and sustained economic growth.”

They urged African governments, seen to be the main beneficiaries of the work done by think tanks, to work with African think tanks and capacity building institutions, foremost of which is the African Capacity Building Foundation, to move beyond just investing in industrialization and also focus on expanding skills and human capacity to catalyze the wider development process.

At various stages during the 3 days of intense brain-storming and exchange of ideas, members of Government of the Côte d’Ivoire as well as heads of institutions and think thanks revisited the importance of industrialization and the processes to achieve it in Africa.

To the Ivorian Minister of Industry and Mines H.E. Mr Jean-Claude BROU, who was represented by his colleague of the Oil, Energy and Renewable Energy Development Ministry – H.E. Mr Thierry Tanoh, the call for Africa’s industrialisation “warrants the determination and engagement of all stakeholders” notably think tanks, governments and the private sector.

“Africa has an urgent need to implement effective industrial policies to significantly improve its integration with global value chains,” he said.

“Indeed, the African continent must go further in the endogenous transformation of its agricultural and mineral resources in order to ensure its economic and social development,” he went further.

But how can the continent get to such transformation when “evidence shows that across Africa, the manufacturing sector accounts for about 8.3% of the labor force, which is far below the share attained by the successful manufacturing- based developing countries at their peak” as the Summit learnt from Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of the ACBF.

 “This shows that the pace of industrialization in the continent remains slow,” he argued, while adding that “within this framework and given the new developments, the 700 think tanks identified in Africa can and should play a critical role as organizations designed for and capable of long-term thinking and reflection; and be proactive in providing the required intellectual insights for Africa’s transformation.” He stated clearly that Africa needs the expertise of think tanks now more than ever before to be able to attain its transformation agenda.

In closing the summit on behalf of Prof Ramata Ly-Bakayoko, the Ivorian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, her representative Prof. Jean Sylvain Bonny, said his country had noted the pertinent recommendations of the gathering and would take the required actions to help create in Côte d’Ivoire a more competitive manufacturing sector for strong and inclusive growth. He thanked ACBF, its partners and the Think Tanks, noting that the summit proposals are a win-win for both African Governments and these research institutions.



For more information, please contact:

Abel Akara Ticha – Senior Communication Officer 
The African Capacity Building Foundation
Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 7+263-4 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 279

About the African Capacity Building Foundation

Established in 1991, ACBF builds human and institutional capacity for good governance and economic development in Africa. To date the Foundation has empowered people in governments, parliaments, civil society, private sector and higher education institutions in more than 45 countries and 6 regional economic communities. ACBF supports capacity development across Africa through mobilization and leveraging of resources for capacity development; grants, investments and fund management; knowledge services; promoting innovation in capacity development and capacity development advisory services. The establishment of ACBF was in response to the severity of Africa’s capacity needs, and the challenges of investing in indigenous human capital and institutions in Africa. ACBF interventions are premised on four principles: the centrality of capacity to the development process in Africa; the critical role of a partnership and demand-driven approach in tackling capacity challenges; African ownership and leadership in the capacity development process; and a systematic, sequenced and coordinated approach to the capacity development process that pays attention to capacity retention and utilization. For further information go to:

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