Powering structural transformation and economic development in Africa: the role of services, manufacturing and global value chains

Solomon Owusu

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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This thesis focuses on structural transformation and economic development in Africa, by examining the contributions of services, manufacturing and global value chains. This is a research area that has gained importance in recent years, particularly in the context of Africa, and will no doubt continue to attract interest in the coming years. There was a time that manufacturing powered the economic growth of many advanced economies. Today, many researchers and policymakers are now questioning the role of manufacturing in development. This is because, since the 1990s, except in Asia, other regions of the world have seen a decline in the share of manufacturing output and a rise in the share of services in total economic output. Particularly in Africa, the predominant narrative is that most countries have experienced premature (early) deindustrialisation. Given the historical importance of manufacturing to growth, what does this mean for jobs, inclusive growth, and poverty reduction in Africa? Does industrialisation represent a viable path to structural transformation in Africa? Does the question of whether services can play a positive role in economic development merit special attention in the sub-Saharan African context? Could the expansion of global value chains (GVCs) fast-track Africa’s structural change and industrialisation prospect? To answer these questions, this thesis drew heavily on important theories in development economics and macro-level data for a representative sample of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that together contributes about 80 percent of the total economic output of the region to study structural change or lack thereof, in African countries and its implications for economic development in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Foster-McGregor, Neil, Supervisor
  • Verspagen, Bart, Supervisor
Award date12 Oct 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464233353
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • structural transformation
  • services
  • manufacturing
  • global value chains
  • Africa

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