Digital transformation already changes the ways and means of manufacturing production in Africa. In this study, major issues of Africa’s technological efforts and capabilities are discussed in the context of the severe employment crisis and the ongoing digital transformation. First, the study introduces into the key concepts which are now of relevance in the context of manufacturing sectors, namely measuring technological efforts and capabilities in Africa, assessing structural change and employment in Africa, and analysing the progress of digital transformation in Africa. So far, the impact of digital transformation on the building of technological capabilities is under-researched, as is the impact on structural change and employment. It is understood that more clarity with regard of concepts and definitions is needed to support the policymakers. Second, evidence is presented on the extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity, on the progress in different dimensions of digital transformation, and on the implications for structural change and employment creation of the ongoing digital transformation. The extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity and the progress of Africa’s digital transformation are highlighted by using appropriate indexes and indicators. The role of technology development and technology diffusion for structural change and employment creation in times of digital transformation is discussed; the new conditions for the accumulation of technological capabilities in Africa are assessed. Accumulation of technological capabilities and participation in the digital transformation are key for sustainable manufacturing sector developments in Africa; in this context country case studies (Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa) highlight important aspects of the potential benefits derived from digital transformation. Third, the impact of global techno-economic changes on manufacturing in Africa in times of digital transformation is reviewed, and the available options for building and accumulating technological capabilities are presented. A wider concept of capabilities is needed for Africa to be able to participate in the global digital transformation, by incorporating technological capabilities (how to engineer and to produce), innovation capabilities (how to organize processes of change), and ICT capabilities (how to store and to process data). Developing technological capabilities in the context of ICT capabilities and innovation capabilities matters for local and regional domestic firms and as well for foreign-owned enterprises in Africa. Examples brought in the study show that African countries and firms can react pro-actively to these global changes. Fourth, some policy recommendations and conclusions are following the analytical part of the working paper.
Source of Photo: Tony Blair Institute For Global Change; accessed from: https://institute.global/advisory/adapting-4ir-africas-development-age-automation
Manufacturing in Africa is affected differently by various elements and forms of digital transformation. Informal and formal manufacturing firms are affected differently; agro-based and resource-based industries are also affected differently; and the same is true for high technology, medium technology, low technology, and service industries. This means that industry policies have to look at the particular segment of firms. Digital transformation also allows for “green growth” and “green industrialization” patterns of change in Africa. Environmentally-sound technologies impact on agriculture, industry, and services sectors. Examples are presented in the study for such sectors also in the form of boxes. It is also good news that informal manufacturing firms in Africa can also benefit from the effects of the digital transformation on technological capabilities, innovation capabilities, and ICT capabilities. Cases of Nigerian informal sector firms in the automotive components, transport vehicle, and ICT hardware industry show this new trend which is associated with the digital transformation. Cases of Tunisian small informal and formal sector firms in textiles and garments, electronic and electric components, optical and medical products, waste management, renewable energy management, and in agro-business sectors show a similar trend. For South Africa, we see an impact of digital competences over many sectors with small and middle formal and informal firms, such as in mining, in agro-industries, and in service industries. It is also discussed in the study how employment creation and skills development are related to the trend of digital transformation. There is a spread of digital skills all over Africa, and digital entrepreneurship ecosystems are developing quickly, such as in Kenya. Digital hubs play an increasing role in Africa and combine the activities of researchers, of small and middle firms, and of start-ups. But, the progress is uneven, as we can see from the location of digital hubs which are found in many places of Africa; but we see a concentration of such hubs in some few countries, such as in Kenya. Digital skills impact considerably on employment creation, on the development of firms and start-ups, and on the growth of entrepreneurship; the spread of these skills transforms the manufacturing sectors widely in Africa. A new base for manufacturing development is created through digital transformation, also by using open innovation platforms in a cooperation between public and private research & development centres, start-ups, local and global customers, foreign direct investors, and African domestic firms.
Bibliographic Information (on two versions of the study):
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, Employment and Digital Transformation, pages 3-53, in: Berichte, 29, Jg., Nr. 215, 2019 / II, ISSN 1022-3258, Thema des Heftes: Mut zur Unabhängigkeit: Afrika, Ukraine, Moldawien; Forschungsinstitut der Internationalen Wissenschaftlichen Vereinigung Weltwirtschaft und Weltpolitik (IWVWW) e. V., Berlin
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Development, Structural Change and Digital Transformation in Africa, 73 pages,
Berichte aus dem Weltwirtschaftlichen Colloquium der Universität Bremen, Nr. 128, Oktober 2019, ISSN 0948-3829, Hrsg.: IWIM/Institut für Weltwirtschaft und Internationales Management, Universität Bremen; Access: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/blaue_reihe/
Project: Digital Transformation and Innovative Industrial Policies in Africa:
This is a research project supported by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen. Focus is on country experiences in manufacturing development in times of digital transformation for Tunisia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Sudan. Some studies with background material and project insights from cases in Africa are also published in volumes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=345&lng=de, and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/, and: https://www.lit-verlag.de/publikationen/reihen/african-development-perspectives-yearbook/?p=1). The volume of the Yearbook which is planned for the year 2022 will present Units and Contributions on “Business Opportunities, the Growth of Start-Ups, and the Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Emeritus Karl Wohlmuth was very busy in recent months in research, evaluation and publication activities, but also as a lecturer in seminars and workshops.
Economics Professor Karl Wohlmuth was again called to cooperate with the Promotion’s Committee of the University of Khartoum, Sudan. The Committee invites External Assessors to prepare for the promotion to Full Professors and Associate Professors. The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies of the University of Khartoum had again proposed Karl Wohlmuth to assist in the promotion of a colleague. Professor Wohlmuth has already done such assessments prior to this assignment not only in Sudan, but also in similar Committees of Botswana, South Sudan, and Nigeria. The Committee of the University of Khartoum was several times calling the professor from Bremen to assist.
The Economics Editor of Routledge Publisher has again recruited Professor Wohlmuth to give an opinion on a book proposal on global technology and international development issues. The professor was several times asked by the Editor to give his advice. Also for refereed international development journals the professor is regularly asked to peer review manuscripts.
On Sudan and South Sudan, Karl Wohlmuth was writing encyclopaedic articles for an International Handbook on North Africa and the Near East about Sudan and South Sudan. The task was to balance an introductory text on economic, historical, social, political, and geographic issues. He has already contributed to various handbooks with articles about specific issues (such as trade and social policy) on Sudan and South Sudan. The International Handbook will be published in 2020. Karl Wohlmuth was also invited to share his knowledge and experience on Sudan/South Sudan with experts at the Foreign Office in Berlin, and he was invited to speak at the University of Mainz about the “Sudanese Revolution” since December 2018. Karl Wohlmuth has written widely about the economic philosophy and strategy of the Salvation Regime of Al-Bashir in Sudan. It is intended to write about the theme of the “Sudanese Revolution” along the lines of the lecture in Mainz. Professor Wohlmuth argues that six pillars of power centres and their interactions in politics have to be considered to make the “Sudanese Revolution” a sustainable success.
Professor Wohlmuth advises since 2015 the research programme of Professor Reuben A. Alabi at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies in Bremen. Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Alli Ambrose University in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, is researching in Bremen under a guest researcher agreement, but he is quite often travelling to his home university in Nigeria and to places in Africa to participate at workshops and seminars. Recently he was in Cape Town to join a research conference of African economists. He travels to Africa to cooperate with universities in Nigeria for the transfer of his research findings and to present his research findings at workshops which are organized by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. AERC provides also generous research grants to the Nigerian professor. He was also Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies. Professor Alabi is active on researching issues of agriculture development in Nigeria, focussing on agricultural value chain analyses, but he has also written a study, in cooperation with Professor Wohlmuth, on Waste Management Policies and Strategies in Nigeria in comparison with the Waste Management Policies and Strategies practised in Germany. The studies written by Professor Alabi are published through his international research networks, but also in the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM. He is co-editor of the Yearbook since around ten years.
Another guest professor, Professor Chunji Yun from Japan, who cooperates since many years with Professor Wohlmuth, has now presented some publications following from the research results of his study time at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Bremen between September 2017 and August 2018. He was researching in Bremen on macroeconomic effects on EU and Germany of global and regional value chains in automotive and electronics industries across Germany and the Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Poland). Professor Wohlmuth has supported the research programme as well as a prior research period of Professor Yun when he was working about “Japan and the Global and Regional Value Chains” for 18 months at IWIM in Bremen. He has published in the Book Series/Schriftenreihe of IWIM and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM.
As the Chief Coordinator and Director of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen, Professor Karl Wohlmuth is responsible to edit, together with the Managing Editor Professor Tobias Knedlik from the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. Professor Wohlmuth informed recently the public about an anniversary of the Yearbook Project. The volume for 2019 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook was released by the LIT Verlag. As the first volume has appeared in 1989, the Yearbook Project has now a history of 30 years. Therefore it is time to celebrate the Anniversary of the year 2019; a programme for this event is worked out. The University of Bremen released a press information about the Yearbook Anniversary. The first issue of 1989 had as the theme “Human Dimensions of Adjustment”, while the issue for 2019 was on “Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Inclusive Growth in Africa - Human Skills Development and Country Cases”. Research groups work now for the volume of 2020/21 on the theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development - Challenges and Opportunities”. There are already plans for the 2022 volume. Focus will be on “Business Opportunities, Growth of Start-Ups, and Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Wohlmuth was invited in February 2020 by the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn to participate at the International Conference on “Africa’s Employment Perspectives up to 2040”. This was a high-level event with key participants, speakers, and discussants. The DIE is now established as a high-rated global Think Tank. In contrast to the Asian employment creation strategies the policies for Africa to absorb annually more than 20 million people joining the labour force will be more complex.
Professor Wohlmuth participates from time to time at accreditation missions to evaluate international study programmes at universities in Germany. Recently he did this in Heidelberg, but other missions brought him to Berlin, Göttingen, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Giessen, and to other places. There is an increasing diversity of such programmes in Germany, what also means that foreign students are attracted more and more to such English-language programmes.
At the International Graduate Centre (IGC) of the University of Applied Sciences Bremen Professor Wohlmuth gives lectures at seminars for Chinese professional expert groups from provinces, autonomous regions, and major towns in the PR of China. He speaks about innovation policies in Bremen and he was also invited to speak about proposals for a European Belt and Road Initiative (analogues to the Chinese Belt and Road cross-border-project). The purpose of the European Belt and Road Initiative is to give Europe a new perspective of integration on the basis of a giant infrastructure project. The idea for such a project was developed by an international research institute in Vienna, Austria. In contrast to the Chinese project the European project would involve more companies from the countries involved, and so it could become a true multinational project with a fair distribution of benefits. The Corona Pandemic will however change the course of the project, but will not make it obsolete.
In a new research project of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives with the theme “Digital Transformation, Manufacturing Growth and Structural Change in Africa” Karl Wohlmuth has published two versions of a working paper on “Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, and Digital Transformation”. In the new research project which was preceded by consulting work for UNIDO, Karl Wohlmuth looks at the role of digital transformation for structural change and manufacturing growth in Africa, focussing mainly on countries like Tunisia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan. Especially, the repercussions of the digital transformation on deindustrialization and reindustrialization will be investigated. Already, studies on Tunisia were made available.
When the Yearbook Series started in 1989 with a volume on “Human Dimensions of Adjustment” no one of the founders thought that this project would exist for thirty years and more. But now we can say that the demand for this Yearbook was continuously on the increase. The volumes became over time important additions to the literature on African Development Perspectives. We are proud to say that the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now the leading English-language annual in Germany on Africa. The volumes are still organized around Units, comprising three to five essays, and each Unit is introduced by editors through a presentation of issues and strategies that follow from the messages of the essays. Each volume has a specific theme which is of utmost importance in the discussion about development policies for Africa. The editors still preserve this way of grouping the material, when presenting the analytical essays, the field studies, the documents, the reviews, the briefs and the notes.
We observe that some of the volumes which appeared in the 1990s and in the 2000s are again at the centre of policy discussions about Africa, just to mention “Good Governance and Economic Development” or “Industrialization based on Agricultural Development” or “Africa - Escaping the Primary Commodities Dilemma” or “Active Labour and Employment Policies in Africa”. It is interesting to see how relevant some of the proposals mentioned there still are in the policy discussion, and so they are cited again and again. These volumes are still sold and read, and the impact on the policymakers in Africa and at the global level encourages us to continue with the work for the Yearbook Project. The strong interest about the Yearbook themes follows the discussion about development strategies for Africa at global and regional levels. So, the launch of the Yearbook volume for 2015/16 on “Africa's Progress in Regional and Global Economic Integration – Towards Transformative Regional Integration” by UNECA in Kigali, Rwanda had a great effect; the messages and the lessons were taken up Africa-wide with great interest and recognition.
The new volumes for 2018 and 2019 are unique as they highlight a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)-led development strategy for Africa (see the Cover of each volume below). The strategies developed are taking up African positions and proposals, but these are critically analysed and confronted with the “state of the art” analyses about global achievements with regard of STI and Inclusive Growth policies. Country cases play in all the volumes a great role. In these two volumes we have taken up country cases for Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Egypt. Some country cases are considered in a full Unit, like for Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and Tunisia, others in the form of one or two essays (such as for Mauritania and Cameroon). The specific theme for a volume is also enriched by a full Unit on Book Reviews and Book Notes. All the relevant literature on global, regional, national and local issues is considered by reviewers who are working in the area of STI and Inclusive Growth policies.
Contributors, Editors, and Supporters of the Project will work on an Anniversary Festschrift on “Thirty Years (1989-2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook” to highlight the achievements and main outcomes, the messages and lessons for policymakers, and to make proposals and plans to prepare for the future perspectives of the Yearbook project. The University of Bremen has supported the project now over more than three decades. A press report was prepared and issued by the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies and the University of Bremen (see it as a PDF FB 7 - Info Jahrbuch/Yearbook, and as a Link https://www.uni-bremen.de/wiwi/news/detailansicht/ein-projekt-der-afrikaforschung-an-der-universitaet-bremen). The volume for 2020/21 with the title “Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Infrastructure, Industrialization, Innovation) and African Development – Challenges and Opportunities” is now finalized by research teams. There are already concrete plans for the 2022 volume with the theme “Business Opportunities, Growth of Innovative Start-ups, and Digital Transformation in Africa”. An International Call for Papers for the 2022 volume will be made available in the next few months.
Information about the Yearbook Project is made available under:
The LIT Verlag is the partner of the Yearbook project:
Under a WIKIPEDIA entry you see a short description:
African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2019
Science, Technology And Innovation Policies For Inclusive Growth In Africa - Human Skills Development And Country Cases,
Edited by Achim Gutowski, Nazar Mohamed Hassan, Tobias Knedlik, Chantal Marie Ngo Tong, Karl Wohlmuth,
LIT Verlag Wien, Zürich 2020
ISBN 978-3-643-91173-5 (pb)
ISBN 978-3-643-96173-0 (PDF)
i-xxxvi und 527 Seiten und i-x
African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2018
Science, Technology And Innovation Policies For Inclusive Growth In Africa – General Issues And Country Cases,
Edited by Reuben A. Alabi, Achim Gutowski, Nazar Mohamed Hassan, Tobias Knedlik, Samia Satti Mohamed Nour, Karl Wohlmuth,
LIT Verlag Wien, Zürich 2018
ISBN 978-3-643-91042-4 (pb)
ISBN 978-3-643-96042-9 (PDF)
i-xxx und 555 Seiten und i-v
Related to the publishing activity for the Yearbook is the research activity of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen (see about the Research Group the PDF ADPY Research Group, and the links to follow-up the research activity related to the themes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook:
Guest researchers, currently from Nigeria, are participating in the researches of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/environment_and_development_management_nigeria_germany/). They also serve as editors and co-editors of Units/Volumes.
From Dr. Dieter Ernst, who has made his PhD at the University of Bremen in the field of microelectronics and development, reaches us a very important information. He has produced a new report: Competing in Artificial Intelligence Chips: China’s Challenge amid Technology War. As the trade and technology war between USA and China is escalating, with tremendous effects on the rest of the world, this study is a very important reminder that all nations will lose if global trade is politicized further.
Dieter Ernst describes the study in this way: “Drawing on field research conducted in 2019 in cooperation with Tsinghua University, this report assesses the challenges that China is facing in developing its Artificial Intelligence (AI) chip industry amid unprecedented US technology export restrictions. Success in artificial intelligence (AI) is not limited to data and algorithms alone. The third component that determines success in research and applications are advanced specialized AI chips that provide increased computing power and storage, while decreasing energy consumption. Companies that have access to leading-edge AI chips are essentially in the fast lane, where improvements continue to be rapid and mutually reinforcing. China has relied almost solely on the United States to import such advanced AI chips, but the US-China technology war has abruptly disrupted China’s access to these critical sources of AI success. Will America’s unprecedented technology export restrictions cripple China’s AI ambitions? Or will it force China to race ahead on its own? Specifically, what realistic options does China have to substitute AI chip imports from the United States through local design and fabrication or through imports from other non-US sources?
The report written by Dieter Ernst highlights China’s challenge of competing in AI, and contrasts America’s and China’s different AI development trajectories. Starting much later than the United States, Chinese universities and public research institutes have conducted a significant amount of AI research (some of it at the frontier), but knowledge exchange with industry remains limited. Drawing on deep integration with America’s AI innovation system, Chinese AI firms, in turn, have focused primarily on capturing the booming domestic mass markets for AI applications, investing too little in AI research. To find out what is happening today in China’s AI chip design, capabilities and challenges are assessed, both for the large players (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) and for a small group of AI chip “unicorns”. The report concludes with implications for China’s future AI chip development, considering the disruptive effects of the technology war and the global coronavirus pandemic.”
The report informs about an intense technology war between USA and China, but also reveals how dynamic the actors in China are to respond to a politics of US sanctions and restrictions. The chapter “What’s Happening in China’s AI Chip Industry” is of great interest to all those being interested in the future competitive position of Chinese AI firms, especially also of the many start-ups which emerged since 2016. There is globally an increasing interest in the AI Unicorn Club (see the research brief: https://www.cbinsights.com/research/ai-unicorn-club/), and the study by Dieter Ernst is an important additional source to understand the most recent AI industry developments.
To read and to download the full report please click on: https://www.cigionline.org/publications/competing-artificial-intelligence-chips-chinas-challenge-amid-technology-war.
Dr. Dieter Ernst is associated with the Centre for International Governance Innovation/CIGI, Waterloo, Canada & East-West Center/EWC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; see about his studies and the works at CIGI and EWC:
For citation of the new CIGI Study:
Ernst, D., 2019, Competing in Artificial Intelligence Chips – China’s Challenge Amidst Technology War, published in March 2020 by the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 6C2, pages vii plus 60 pages, homepage: www.cigionline.org
A Follow-up Report by Professor Dr. Chunji Yun about his Sabbatical at the University of Bremen: New research reports were published on “Germany’s Export Growth and the Changing Demand Structures”
Professor Dr. Chunji Yun (from the Department of Economics, Seinan Gakuin University, Japan) was invited by the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Bremen (at the initiative of Professor Karl Wohlmuth who was a host of the Japanese Professor already many years ago at IWIM) to spend his sabbatical in Bremen for a research on “Transforming the European Social and Economic Model in the Enlarged EU from a Viewpoint of the Production and Employment Regime”. Professor Yun was with his family in Bremen during the period of 1st September, 2017 to 31st August, 2018. It was agreed at the start of the research work in Bremen that Professor Yun’s work would more specifically focus on employment regimes and international production networks which are organized in automotive and electronics industries across Germany and the four Visegrád countries (labelled hereafter as V4). He has presented during his stay three Progress Reports and a Final Research Report addressed to the Faculty via Professor Karl Wohlmuth (see the Final Research Report to the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Bremen).
Now he reports on the publications which were written recently at home in Japanese language (see below):
Yun, Chunji (2019) “Doitsu no Yushutsu- Seicho to Juyo-Kozo no Henka (Ⅰ): Posuto-Fodoshugi ‘Seicho-Model’- Ron no Kento,” Seinan Gakuin Daigaku Keizaigaku Ronshu, Dai 53 Kan Dai 3・4 Gappei-Go (Title Translated in English: “German Export Growth and Changing Demand Structure (Ⅰ): Review of Post-Fordist ‘Growth Models’,” The Economic Review of Seinan Gakuin University, Vol.53, No.3-4.)
Yun, Chunji (2019) “Doitsu no Yushutsu- Seicho to Juyo-Kozo no Henka (Ⅱ): Tayoka-Kohinshitsu-Seisan to Sekai-Keizai no Saihen,” Seinan Gakuin Daigaku Keizaigaku Ronshu, Dai 54 Kan Dai 1・2 Gappei-Go (Title Translated in English: “German Export Growth and Changing Demand Structure (Ⅱ): Diversified Quality Production and Reconfiguration of the World Economy,” The Economic Review of Seinan Gakuin University, Vol.54, No.1-2)
In his Third Progress Report (of June 19, 2018) Professor Yun gave details about his discussion of Professor H. W. Sinn’s Bazaar Economy approach to explain the export boom of Germany. Professor Yun is critically assessing the scientific positions of German economics and sociology professors on the role of the German manufacturing firms in global and regional value chains and the impact on value capture in the chains. His scientific interest is in the accumulation and financialization of profits, on the labour costs and wage structures, and on current and future industrial and employment relations.
See on the earlier (and somewhat related) studies of Professor Yun at IWIM the three series of IWIM publications where he has contributed: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/schriftenreihe_des_iwim/, and: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/weisse_reihe/, and: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/blaue_reihe/. Further studies from the Japanese Professor regarding his most recent research period in Bremen are expected also to appear in English language versions and translations. Also other Japanese professors have contributed to the IWIM Publication Series (see http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=316&lng=de). The cooperation between the University of Bremen and universities in Japan started with the Collaborative Research and Exchange Project “Schumpeter and the Asian Crisis” of IWIM at the University of Bremen and Aichi University in Toyohashi, Japan.
“Africa’s employment perspectives towards 2040”: This is the title of an important international conference of leading development experts on the employment crisis in Africa and the options which African countries and the international community have to support employment creation on a sustainable basis. The conference organizers state in the invitation: “Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the only world region where the number of poor people is still rising. The vast majority of the workforce is employed informally, often under precarious conditions. While many Asian countries have shown that such conditions can be overcome, it is unclear what could drive such structural transformation in SSA. At the same time, international conditions for economic development are undergoing radical change. Some changes open up new opportunities, whereas others may lead to SSA falling even further behind.
Potential game changers include cost-reducing digital technologies; Africa’s rapid urbanization and rising middle classes; increasing global demand for high-value agricultural products; decarbonization and the replacement of fossil resources with biomaterials; asset stranding in the oil & gas industries; new opportunities stemming from low-cost renewable energy supply in rural areas; China becoming a high-income country that sheds labour-intensive light industries; trade wars among the main economic blocs and increased trade integration within Africa, to name just a few. At the conference, we take such international trends as a starting point, exploring their likely impacts on structural transformation and employment in SSA, rather than extrapolating African trends from the past. This will allow us to (1) identify new development opportunities and threats and (2) address broader issues, such as assessing the future importance of industrialization, the development contributions of urbanization or the relative importance of exports vs. domestic sources for Africa’s development.”
The conference was conceived as a joint endeavour of various African and international research institutes and groups which focus on African Development Perspectives (see for information the Programme of the DIE Conference). More than 50 speakers informed a group of around 300 participating development experts about analyses, projections, and proposed solutions. Professor Karl Wohlmuth was invited to the conference and participated in the plenary sessions and selected special sessions. Some of the sessions were of particular interest for the future work on volumes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. The Yearbook has since 1989 addressed Africa’s development problems, and quite often the employment issues were presented by the contributors (see on the Yearbook editions since 1989: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=345&lng=de).
The organizers have produced a video and a short summary of the wrap-up panel (see the links below):
Five experts brought together the highlights of the conference in the final conference session.
The DIE gives also access to all the PowerPoints and to a video of the panel with the highlights of the conference upon request: https://www.die-gdi.de/veranstaltungen/details/africas-employment-perspectives-towards-2040/
A short report was provided by the journal D+C: https://www.dandc.eu/en/article/how-governance-matters-creating-full-employment-africa; see also for further information about the conference topics: https://knowledge.unccd.int/publications/africas-employment-perspectives-towards-2040-17-18022020-bonn-german-development; and: https://www.ebcam.eu/events/archives/528-africa-s-employment-perspectives-towards-2040; and: https://sg-csd.org/news_events/20200219/; and: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/africa/africas-2040-employment-problem/.
This study examined the impacts of the E-wallet Fertilizer Subsidy Scheme on the quantity of fertilizer use, on crop output, and on yield in Nigeria. The study made use of the Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS)-Panel Datasets of 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 which contain 5,000 farming households in each of the panel. The study has applied relevant evaluation techniques to analyse the data. The results of the impact analysis demonstrate that the scheme has generally increased the yield, the crop output, and the quantity of fertilizer purchase of the participating farmers by 38%, 47%, and 16%, respectively. The study concludes that increased productivity, which the scheme engenders, can help to reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Provision of rural infrastructure, such as a good road network, and accessibility to mobile phones, radio, etc. will increase the readiness of the small-scale farmers to accept the scheme or any other similar agricultural schemes in Nigeria. The new fertiliser subsidy scheme goes back to the initiative of Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi A. Adesina, now President of the African Development Bank in Abidjan. He was awarded the Sunhak Peace Prize for Good Governance and Agriculture Innovations in Africa (see on his life and the award: http://sunhakprize.blogspot.com/2018/11/main-achievements-of-akinwumi-adesina.html).
The Achievements of Akinwumi A. Adesina
The E-wallet Fertilizer Subsidy Scheme had an estimated yield impact of 66% on the side of the participating small-scale poor farmers; this is much higher when compared with the estimated yield impact of 38% on the side of the the average farmers who are participating in the scheme. This suggests that the overall impact of the scheme could be higher if the scheme is well targeted at the small-scale poor farmers. Increased productivity through fertiliser use will reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Provision of rural infrastructure will increase accessibility of the small-scale farmers to the scheme, so that measures by the government in this direction are important.
The new study is part of the research programme by Professor Alabi on Nigerian agricultural sector initiatives which is undertaken at the invitation of the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Bremen, based on a guest researcher agreement in cooperation with Professor Karl Wohlmuth. Professor Karl Wohlmuth from the Research Group on African Development Perspectives is cooperating with the Nigerian Professor since many years, and supervises also this particular research programme. Professor Alabi has just finalized his essay for the next volume of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2020/21 on “Financial inclusion, Innovation and Agricultural Development in Nigeria”. The Nigerian Professor works for the Yearbook Project now for more than 10 years as a co-editor and as an author. Professor Alabi has successfully applied various times for grants from the AERC/African Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, Kenya, the leading African economic science Think Tank; also this study was financed by the AERC. He was also a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at IWIM, University of Bremen for a period of around 2 years (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/environment_and_development_management_nigeria_germany/).
The record of fertilizer subsidies in Africa is weak. Therefore it is important to study the Nigerian E-wallet approach which seems to contrast the Africa-wide negative assessments of fertiliser subsidies.
The Economist wrote on July 1st, 2017 a famous article: “Why fertiliser subsidies in Africa have not worked/Good intentions, poor results”
The Impact of the E-Wallet Fertilizer Subsidy Scheme and its Implications on Food Security in Nigeria,
by Reuben Adeolu Alabi, Professor at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, and currently staying as Visiting Guest Researcher at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Bremen; the study is co-authored by Oshobugie Ojor Adams, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria; it was published as Research Paper 390, January 2020, 42 pages, and it was released by AERC/African Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, Kenya.
For a Download of the Study: https://aercafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Research-Paper-390.pdf
Remarks about the status of the research grant by AERC: This Research Study was supported by a grant from the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). The findings, opinions and recommendations are those of the authors, however, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Consortium, its individual members or the AERC Secretariat.
Published by: The African Economic Research Consortium
P.O. Box 62882 - City Square
Nairobi 00200, Kenya
© 2020, African Economic Research Consortium.
Professor Karl Wohlmuth has recently published various studies on economic reform policies for Tunisia. Such reforms are overdue in a country which has initiated the Arab Spring events in 2011 and since enjoys substantial international support and goodwill from so many developed countries. A summary article is published to give an overview of the key findings of these studies (see the PDF with the synopsis). The analyses are related to vital branches of economic policy, especially on deindustrialization, reindustrialization and employment policies in Tunisia, and also on innovation, regional development and health sector policies for Tunisia.
Most recent is the new volume of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2019 with four studies on Tunisia; the volume was published in early 2020 by the LIT Verlag. Two studies (on innovation and on health sector policies) were done by research groups in Tunisia, the third study on regional development and cluster policies was contributed by an independent researcher on Tunisia, and the fourth study with a focus on development strategies was prepared by two editors of this volume of the Yearbook (see the cover of the Yearbook volume 2019 below). Although Tunisia has quite interesting and sophisticated approaches towards sector policies, the authors found out that there is a need to update the policies and strategies and to synchronize these policies so that the overall development framework becomes more sustainable in Tunisia.
Two new studies came out from the Bremen Tunisia Project – first, a study on De-Industrialization, Reindustrialization and Employment. Elements of a National Employment Strategy for Tunisia and second, a whole Unit of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2019 containing a set of studies on Innovation Policies, Industrial Cluster Policies and Health Sector Reform Policies in Tunisia. A Synopsis on the proposed strategies for the policymakers was written by Professor Karl Wohlmuth (see the PDF Tunisia-Employment, Industry and STI Policies 2019).
The first study is on implementing economic reforms through a) labour market transformations and laying the institutional foundations for a National Employment Strategy, b) managing de-industrialization through pro-active industrial development policies, c) exploiting multiple paths of reindustrialization via promotion of all productive sectors, regional industry development, supporting viable regional and global value chains and mobilizing green growth potentials in the country, and d) involving new partners and actors in the implementation process of economic reforms, also at regional and global levels. These issues were discussed at a conference on reindustrialization in Tunisia (see about the Reindustrialization Conference in Tunisia and the Bremen Tunisia Project: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/sti_policies_tunisia/).
In the second study three key areas of STI policies were discussed, first, the role of obstacles to innovation in and among Tunisian firms; second, the role of industrial clusters smart specialization policies for innovations; and third, the role of innovation policies in the health sector comprising all relevant sub-sectors and value chains. These essays are part of a strategy to promote STI policies in North Africa with a focus on Egypt and Tunisia. Two volumes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (Volume 20 for 2018 and Volume 21 for 2019) were devoted to the issue of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Inclusive Growth in Africa. These essays are in Volume 21.
The Bremen Tunisia Project is running since 5 years. A short report was presented by Professor Hans-Heinrich Bass from the University of Applied Sciences Bremen at a jubilee meeting in 2018 for an international study programme on Applied Economic Languages (AWS/Angewandte Wirtschaftssprachen) Arabic, Japanese and Chinese running for 30 years (see Bass Presentation AWS). Volume 21 for 2019 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is also part of a jubilee event in 2019 as this Yearbook Project is now running for 30 (thirty) years, as the number one issue on Human Dimensions of Adjustment in Africa was published in 1989 (see the link to the various issues of the Yearbook Project: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/ and: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/africa/africanyearbook.htm).
Bibliographic Information on the New Publications:
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2018, De-Industrialisierung, Reindustrialisierung und Beschäftigung. Elemente einer nationalen Beschäftigungsstrategie für Tunesien (Deindustrialization, Reindustrialization and Employment. Elements of a National Employment Strategy for Tunisia), Seiten 33-90, in: Zeitschrift "Berichte", 2018/II, 28. Jg., Nr. 213, ISSN 1022-3258, Thema des Heftes (Theme of the Issue of the Journal): Gegensätze - Westbalkan, Tunesien und Karl Marx, Berlin, Forschungsinstitut der Internationalen Wissenschaftlichen Vereinigung Weltwirtschaft und Weltpolitik (IWVWW) e. V.
African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2019, Volume 21, Theme: Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Inclusive Growth in Africa – Human Skills Development and Country Cases, Edited by Achim Gutowski, Nazar Mohamed Hassan, Tobias Knedlik, Chantal Marie Ngo Tong and Karl Wohlmuth, LIT Publishers Wien-Zürich, 2019, with contributions on Tunisia in Unit 2: Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policies for Economic Transformation in North Africa by: Nazar Mohamed Hassan and Karl Wohlmuth; Zouhour Karray and Wiem Ben Ghorbel Abed; Maximilian Benner; and by Mondher Khanfir and Sana Ayari-Riabi.
This study was written by Guest Researcher Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Nigeria and by Professor Emeritus Karl Wohlmuth, University of Bremen, Germany. It investigates in a comparative form the progress of waste management policies in Nigeria and in Germany, with special emphasis on the conditions in the Lagos State of Nigeria and in the Country State of Bremen in Germany. Also, the move from conventional waste management in the linear economic model to integrated resource and waste management in the circular economic model is discussed. While waste management in the linear economic model focusses in Nigeria and in Germany on a distinct hierarchy of objectives, the resource and waste management in the circular model incorporates the whole life cycle of the products and the societal relevance of the products in view of its objectives. Focus is in the study on the country state of Lagos in Nigeria and on the country state of Bremen in Germany. Both country states have a great role as harbour and logistic towns, as industrial towns and as towns with scientific and technological infrastructure. There are also differences as Lagos is an important financial services hub while Bremen is famous for its aircraft and space industry. The study compares the progress of waste management and resource conservation policies but reflects also on the different institutional and logistical structures of waste management in the two country states, being the result of specific economic sectors and factors. Factors such as the importance of formal and informal private enterprises, the role of public institutions and of private actors in the waste management business, and the relevance of public waste management policies, laws, plans and balance sheets play a role in the study. Also, the role of new equipment and new communication technologies for the further development of the waste industry in the two countries/country states is considered.
The Necessity of A Move Towards Sustainable Waste Management in Nigeria
Source: Towards a sustainable waste management (The Guardian, 16 May 2016; Link: https://guardian.ng/opinion/towards-a-sustainable-waste-management/)
The study is based on relevant literature which is available for the two countries/states and on meetings/interviews with experts on waste management in the two countries/states. Based on questionnaires the authors have investigated the specific frameworks of waste management policies. A major result is that Germany (and Bremen) and Nigeria (and Lagos) can cooperate in a mutually beneficial way on waste management – in policymaking and planning, on developing and selecting equipment and new technologies, on services provision and training, but also on guiding the transformation process towards a circular economy. Nigeria can learn from the German and European way of implementing coherent policies, while Germany and Europe can learn from Nigeria’s way to solve problems which arise at the local level. The study brought to attention that the waste industry in Germany and in Bremen is embedded into a complex web of directives, laws and regulations; this is a strict policy framework from the EU level downwards and to the EU level upwards. In Nigeria, there is no coherent waste governance system down from the federation, but at local and state levels there are some binding rules (of formal and/or informal origin). This quite different way of organizing waste management has consequences for the development of the waste industry in the two countries. It impacts also on the selection of options used in waste management in regard of the six (6) objectives discussed in the hierarchy of actions chosen (see below).
Most Favoured and Least Favoured Options in Waste Management
For Nigeria, this situation means that local informal producers, local informal organizations, and local informal waste management actors play a great role. Important is it that informal actors in the waste management business are rediscovered as partners of public agencies, public firms and formal sector private firms. Informal sector firms can also be partners in the transformation from waste management in the linear economy model towards resource management within the circular economy model. Informal enterprises can ably prepare end-of-life products for re-use or they can make them the basis for large-scale recycling and recovery. Privatization versus re-communalization is another issue of relevance for the waste industry as experiences in Lagos and in Bremen show. For Germany, the decision criterion should be the ability to innovate for a circular economy; this should be the basic criterion for privatization versus re-communalization. In Nigeria, a larger role of informal enterprises in the waste industry can contribute to the circular economy. Such firms can redesign the products and can remanufacture them for low-income social groups; waste can then be reduced or even prevented. Waste prevention is an issue for both countries/country states/municipalities. Bremen as a country state and Bremen as a municipality can support initiatives for a deep cooperation in a waste management partnership with Lagos and Nigeria. Lagos can be the first address for such a cooperation, although the population and the industry size of Lagos State are so much bigger compared to Bremen.
Waste Management Facilities as used in Germany are exported globally to developed and emerging economies
Policy Focus and Dissemination of the Study
There is great interest from the side of waste management authorities in Nigeria in the policy recommendations presented in the study. Professor Alabi is discussing the possibility of workshops in Nigeria to inform the public about the major results. Also, waste management and resource conservation companies show interest in the investigation of the two authors. Because of the rate of population growth, the speed of urbanization and the need to scale up industrial, agricultural and agro-industrial development in Nigeria, there is urgency in regard of implementing such policy recommendations.
Bibliographic Details on the New Study on Waste Management in Nigeria and Germany:
Wohlmuth, Karl/Reuben A. Alabi, 2019, The Case of Sustainable Management of Waste in Germany (and Bremen) and Practical Lessons for Nigeria (and Lagos), pages i-xxx and 147 pages and i-vii pages, Materialien des Wissenschaftsschwerpunktes „Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft“ (ehemals: Materialien des Universitätsschwerpunktes „Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen und Internationales Management“), Bd. 44, April 2019, ISSN 0948-3837, Access Link: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/publikationen/pub-white.htm and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/weisse_reihe/.