Since the downturn in global commodity prices in 2015, sub-Saharan Africa’s macroeconomic conditions have deteriorated, with 2016 seeing the worst economic growth in more than two decades. To maintain progress in economic transformation, employment-intensive and higher-productivity sectors need to be developed. Manufacturing – including agricultural processing – offers this opportunity, including through participation in regional and global value chains, and increasingly, businesses and government are looking to private finance to provide the funds to boost the sector.
This paper, focusing on financing conditions in the region, is the first of two exploring these issues. It examines macroeconomic financing opportunities and constraints in Kenya, Rwanda and Liberia, evaluating why manufacturing growth may have fallen behind services in these three countries at various stages of development, and offering policy solutions to improve the financing environment and increase the flow of finance to the sector.