This paper is an attempt to “operationalize” suggested UNIDO policy instruments to benchmark countries’ competitive industrial performance, taking South Africa as an example. It draws from the experience of the African Productive Capacity Initiative adopted by the African Ministers of Industry. The Initiative would become the national pillars of the respective sub-regional and national programmes in Africa on productive capacity and should help to identify the comparative advantages of regions, countries, products in Africa, using the global and local value chains approach as well as South-South Cooperation. Competition, innovation and productivity growth should take into consideration objectives such as the reduction of poverty contained in the Millennium Development Goals and social cohesion.
The fragmentation of communication infrastructures in Africa – for example the railways – has left the continent with a largely incomplete network of interconnections. This makes it virtually impossible to achieve the objective of space integration. Fragmented networks were implemented as means to control trade and ensure the export of raw materials leading to today’s extraverted economy. This intangible communication infrastructure needs to be properly interlinked, especially in rural areas, but has never really received adequate funding.