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The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) convened the first substantive Manufacturing Chapter meeting of the Pan-African Coalition for Transformation (PACT) on December 11 in Accra, Ghana. The meeting follows a June 5 consultative meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which attracted more than 40 industry experts and discussed challenges hindering manufacturing in Africa.

Many African countries have long sought to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of their citizens. However, most have failed to shift productive resources from agriculture and mining to manufacturing, to thereby achieve structural transformation. The manufacturing experience in Africa has been mixed. While some countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia are positioning themselves to attract export-based, labour intensive manufacturing foreign direct investment, others face a lag in investments into export-based manufacturing. To accelerate the growth of manufacturing sectors, African governments need to implement forward-looking labour-market policies to invest in human capital, and, most importantly, to create manufacturing jobs that are sufficiently labour intensive to absorb the continent’s ever-growing working-age population.

The meeting brought together industry experts and senior officials from key government ministries, departments and agencies from selected African countries, as well as development partners, civil society organizations and academia to discuss chapter objectives and action-plans ahead of the African Transformation Forum in 2018.

ACET acts as the secretariat to PACT, which was launched at the first African Transformation Forum, held in March 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda. PACT is a network of like-minded countries, organizations and sponsors sharing valuable knowledge about successful initiatives, policies and reforms to speed up implementation of transformation strategies in Africa. PACT is made up of eight chapters, namely agriculture, manufacturing, extractives, resource mobilization and management, regional integration and trade, financial inclusion, youth employment and skills, and power and electricity.

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