Can agro-processing lead re-industrialisation in Sub-Saharan Africa? A two-stage approach to productivity analysis

David Kapya, Beatrice Conradie & Anthony Black

This analysis sits against the backdrop of unsuccessful attempts to reindustrialise Africa. Zambia must diversify from copper dependency to agriculture and the agro-processing sectors, and the question is whether there is enough capacity to deliver jobs or growth. This paper studied the agroprocessing sector, where mean technical efficiency was 42.5% and mean scale efficiency was 81.7%. Beverage firms fared better than food producers and, within food production, meat processing did best, while baking and milling firms did the worst. There are benefits to centralisation and being large scale, although one in five firms was too large. A deindustrialization programme should focus on the promotion of modern technologies, capacity building and infrastructure development, as well as on improvements in the regulatory framework.