The past decade has seen a growing consensus re-emerging on the importance of industrialisation, as well as on the relatively poor performance of African countries in this regard, including South Africa. The South African economy’s structural transformation since apartheid has been characterised by poor industrial performance, including in manufacturing and related services such as engineering and design. Instead, employment creation has been largely limited to low value-adding services sectors such as personal services and retail.

To better understand the challenges of industrialisation, the Industrial Development Think Tank (IDTT) was established in 2017 at UJ under an MoU with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The IDTT is housed in CCRED, in partnership with the SARChI Chair in Industrial Development, and supported by the DTI. The IDTT will build on existing research undertaken by CCRED and the SARChI Chair in order to provide analysis and advice, build capacity and inform the wider debate on industrialisation.

Structural Transformation and industrial development

During 2017/18, CCRED and its research partners are involved in a series studies of structural transformation and industrial development in South Africa, which will be released in early 2018.

An over-arching paper will review structural transformation, investments and ownership and control in South Africa since 1994.

Together with this over-arching paper, the research will publish reports on selected industries, policy briefs, op-eds, as well as run a series of seminars and public platforms.

Policy Briefs

1. Concentration, profits and investment: Let’s focus on the structure of the economy, not “cash hoarding”

selected industry studies

In order to gain a more nuanced understanding of the underlying factors impacting on structural transformation, three industry groupings were selected. 

Each of these industry papers will consider what structural transformation means, taking into account linkages across the economy, and assess the performance of the industry and the effects of policies on the industry.

In partnership with:

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The Department of Economic Development (DED) at the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is concerned with economic development and transformation in Johannesburg. The character of economic activity in Johannesburg has been shifting over time; away from primary and secondary sectors and towards services. Economic activity is very unevenly spread across the city and not well aligned with areas where the majority of the population live. Furthermore, the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality are acute. 

The CoJ recognizes the need to increase competitive local production as a basis for exports, jobs, and sustainable services growth. The CoJ has commissioned the CCRED to undertake firm level surveys in specific industrial nodes with a view to collecting and analysing primary data on patterns of economic development and performance at the firm level in order to understand constraints to entry, growth, and employment creation. This will enable CoJ to design interventions that will most effectively stimulate dynamism and growth in the economy going forward. Furthermore, the project seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the economy of Johannesburg and the ways in which CoJ can best use the tools at its disposal to drive the city towards an inclusive, job-intensive, resilient and competitive economy. The key areas of work are as follows:
•    Key trends that impact on the city and comparison with other        cities
•    Understanding industry in the city – a survey of two industrial areas
•    Economies of agglomeration in the ICT and broadcasting sectors

Project Reports

  1. Towards an understanding of the economy of Johannesburg
  2. A review of manufacturing activity in 26 industrial nodes
  3. Food processing cluster report


The Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) has requested the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED), in collaboration with Benchmarking and Manufacturing Analysts South Africa (Pty) Ltd (B&M Analysts), to conduct a research study on six sectors in Gauteng province. The six sectors are capital equipment and machinery, plastics and chemicals, automotive, furniture, food and beverages, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Conducting the research study requires CCRED and B&M Analysts to undertake sector studies and develop sector strategies.

The aim of the research study is to provide a sector profile for each of the identified sectors and determine the capacity, growth potential and development needs of the Gauteng province. The province is concerned with deindustrialisation and recognises the need to increase competitive local production as a basis for exports, jobs, and sustainable services growth. The core objective of the sector studies is to provide GDED with concrete and implementable support measures that could be used to promote industrial development in the province. Moreover, the sector studies are expected to demonstrate linkages to the Gauteng City Region pillars of reindustrialisation, transformation and job creation. 

In partnership with:

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