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Young, Skilled Hands and Renewable Energy Access Make Africa Ripe for Green Industrialization

When industrialization is mentioned I get a bit uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong I'm not "anti-progress". It's just that that word conjures up images of big polluting factories, low-wage labour and soul-deadning boredom. But as Meghan Trainor says: "You need to let it go, you need to let it go".

On the sides of COP22, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa launched its Economic Report on Africa 2016. Former chair of the commission, Carlos Lopes says that U.S. $50 billion of manufactured goods are exported from Africa every year. So African countries can and do manufacture goods on a large scale.

While Africa is late to the industrialization bandwagon it presents an opportunity for countries to take a more sustainable development path. He points out a number of advantages that the continent has: in particular, greater potential to harness renewable energy than other regions and the much-touted demographic dividend, which means we have the largest and youngest labour force. While skilled labour remains a challenge, Africa has enough people who are educated to a level that makes the manufacturing of basic goods possible.

CIF Action

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