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Abstract

Africa has potential for economic growth from agricultural production as well as from mineral exploitation. Currently, the continent’s economic growth is unbalanced: some countries have much higher average growth than others. With the population expected to double by 2050, much more focus is needed on not only export earnings but also on food production and jobs creation. Industry policy and infrastructure development can change the balance and ensure jobs for Africans across all groups. Mineral resources exported as raw materials bring in income and lead to economic growth, but by value-adding before export Africa could not only earn much more income but also create many times more jobs. For example, one ton of raw iron ore may be worth USD140, but partial processing will not only multiply its export value but also provide five times as many jobs, or 100 times as many jobs if the iron is manufactured into semi-finished goods before export. Africa can go part of the way in value-adding. First it needs to have a policy environment that supports industry and trade. COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) is working towards facilitation of trade across borders, and improved infrastructure, transport and transit of goods. There is potential for transport corridors and industry clusters to play important roles in future exporting based on the minerals industry.

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