The significance of the industrial sector to national and regional development is very clear. Industrial enterprises diversify the economic activity of the agrarian-dominated production structure of our African countries that is mostly at a subsistence level. The share of the industrial sector, including manufacturing, mining and construction, ranges in the average of 40 to 50 percent of the GDP of most of the countries in Africa. Though the labor force deployed in this sector remains low (mostly 1 to 2 percent) compared to agriculture and other sectors, its contribution to economic growth is significantly high.
Most of the industrial enterprises in our countries are limited to food, beverages, tobacco and matches, textiles, leather and shoes, metal and woodwork, printing, nonmetallic minerals and chemicals. The colonial legacy of the concentration of economic activities in few limited centers, either in capital cities or seaports, is observed in many of the countries in Africa. Hence, the balanced industrial regional development policy, if appropriately implemented and assisted through the TICAD process, is key to social stability and employment creation on the African continent.