Editorial

Governments across the African continent are committed to pursuing economic transformation, creating jobs for an expanding labour force and reaching new levels of prosperity. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a setback. A robust recovery will require dedicated policy effort and effective international support. The Production Transformation Policy Review (PTPR) of Egypt, the first to be implemented in Africa, provides a timely contribution on how countries can transform their economies at a time when they need it most and despite the difficulties facing the global economy.

Advanced countries have been investing heavily in economic recovery. Developing countries have also responded accordingly but face much tighter fiscal constraints. Egypt, too, has undertaken a commendable effort, investing 1.7% of GDP in addressing the pandemic. This report delves into Egypt’s experience, examines its participation into global value chains and identifies how domestic policy, investments and international co-operation can unlock the potential of existing assets and foster new ones, thereby accelerating sustainable development. It offers perspectives on the agro-food and electronics and electrical (E&E) industries, two global value chains that are important for ensuring access to critical goods but have come increasingly under strain during the pandemic.

In a complex, uncertain and fast-changing global landscape, anticipating different scenarios and adapting quickly to changes is critical to sustain growth and ensure that it benefits all of society. This is even truer now that the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged countries worldwide in an unprecedented health emergency, giving rise to steep economic challenges. Since 2017, the Production Transformation Policy Reviews (PTPRs) have supported governments in transforming their economies through policies, making them more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive. They continue to do so during these extraordinarily challenging times.

This report is also extremely timely as it sheds light on a key question for all countries in Africa and their partners: how to make the most of the newly-implemented African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to promote industrialisation? While closer continental ties can open up valuable opportunities for countries to chart their own unique paths to development, the benefits will not be automatic. Targeted national strategies will be needed to reap the benefits of an integrated Africa and turn the AfCFTA into a real game-changer for households, businesses, and governments across the continent.

Mario Pezzini

Director, OECD Development Centre, and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary-General on Development

Stephen Karingi

Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, ECA

Richard Kozul Wright

Director, Globalisation and Development Strategies, UNCTAD

Hiroshi Kuniyoshi

Deputy to the Director General, UNIDO

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