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Economic Diversification in Africa

A Review of Selected Countries

image of Economic Diversification in Africa

This study provides an empirical review of the role of governments, the private sector, regional economic institutions and the broader international community in driving economic diversification. Individual case studies of five African economies describe both the catalysts of and barriers to diversification. The study is published jointly by the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA) and the NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative.

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Experiences in National Economic Diversification in Africa

The five countries selected for this study are Angola, Benin, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia, all of which can offer insights about diversification in Africa. Angola represents a country that is dependent on one main product, oil, to fuel its growth. So far, oil revenues have helped make Angola one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but it has also made the country vulnerable to boom-and-bust cycles due to fluctuations in oil prices.1 The report will consider how Angola can wean itself from its oil dependency and develop a broader range of exports and revenue sources. Kenya has made a great deal of progress in diversifying its economy and is poised to become an economic powerhouse in East Africa and even on the continent. Benin, on the other hand, has not been as successful in strengthening its economy and is hampered by its lack of lucrative natural resources. Strategies for Benin and countries with a similar profile will be analysed. South Africa and Tunisia have more diversified and developed economies than most countries in Africa and act as hubs in their respective regional economies. The Report will look at how they have built such diverse economies and what lessons could be drawn from these experiences in the region.

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