China’s Industrialization Policy is Now Outdated for Africa [Video]

China’s Industrialization Policy is Now Outdated for Africa [Video]

When it was published in the Harvard Business Review, many China-Africa experts and professors reached out to me. A top U.S. MBA program made it a required reading in a class. I had postulated that Africa’s developmental strategy which is largely structured to mirror China will possibly fail. Why? What China did about 40 years ago to rise cannot work today because those comparative advantages it had over U.S. and Western Europe had been disintermediated. 

As robots and AI advance, cheap factory jobs will be “eaten” right in Europe and U.S. meaning that none would have to be outsourced. And if that is the case, these domains will not be looking for new sites in Africa (as wages rise in China, our main expectation to displace China) to build factories. Sure, companies will always spread factories to stay closer to customers but that is a different incentive altogether.

Coronavirus has added a new factor: Africa must endogenously invent a new developmental model.

In this video, I explain that Harvard piece and what we must do.


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4 thoughts on “China’s Industrialization Policy is Now Outdated for Africa [Video]

  1. We first need to be able to do commonest of things, before looking for China or India to mimic; that’s what sensible people do.

    We claim to have fertile lands, what’s our agriculture output like, and the entire value chain? Or do we need to copy China there too?

    We have comparative advantage in entertainment, arts and culture, what have we really done there; or we need to copy China too?

    Our housing deficit is huge, public infrastructures range from inadequate to nonexistence, do we also need to craft a voluminous policy to create a big market in that space too? What percentage of construction materials and equipment can be sourced locally?

    We can’t even handle simple stuff, but we want to compete in supercomputer, space science, 5G, AI, and co, even without being able to provide enough energy for the continent, after over a century of energy abundance in some parts of world.

    Of course we have given up on the idea provision of potable water for the public, and technically asked all citizens to drill well or borehole at their backyard; but we want to industrialise…

    It does appear that the largest concentration of jokers are resident in this continent: big wishes and big talks, yet with no capability to get anything done.

  2. I also think Africa should invest massively in their human capital. Our HDI is not impressive. I have been in Uganda since November 2019, I’m seriously convinced we have a serious problem in Africa.


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