IZA DP No. 11941: Brilliant Technologies and Brave Entrepreneurs: A New Narrative for African Manufacturing
In this paper I argue that the manufacturing sector still has an important role to play in Africa's development. Despite failing to industrialize in the past, there may be a new window of opportunity. This is due to the convergence of what has been called 'brilliant' new technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a resurgence of start-up entrepreneurship. In this light I (i) show why manufacturing is vital for African economies, (ii) critically analyse the nature and impact, both in terms of opportunities and risks, of the new technologies associated with the 4IR for Africa; (iii) describe the resurgence of technological start-up entrepreneurship in Africa and (iv) call for policy support in the form of complimentary investments and regulations to allow entrepreneurs to utilize opportunities and to minimize threats. In short, a new narrative for African manufacturing is possible.