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Title:The product space: What does it say about the opportunities for growth and structural transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa? PDF Logo
Authors:Abdon, Arnelyn
Felipe, Jesus
Issue Date:2011
Series/Report no.:Working paper, Levy Economics Institute 670
Abstract:In this paper we look at the economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the context of structural transformation. We use Hidalgo et al.'s (2007) concept of product space to show the evolution of the region's productive structure, and discuss the opportunities for growth and diversification. The majority of SSA countries are trapped in the export of unsophisticated, highly standard products that are poorly connected in the product space; this makes the process of structural transformation of the region particularly difficult. The products that are nearby to those they already export have the same characteristics. Therefore, shifting to these products will do little to improve SSA's growth prospects. To jump-start and sustain growth, governments must implement policies and provide public inputs that will encourage the private sector to invest in new and more sophisticated activities.
Subjects:industrial policy
product space
structural transformation
Sub-Saharan Africa
JEL:O14
O25
O55
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Working Papers, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

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