Preventing Premature Deindustrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Importance of the Road Transportation Sector


  • donald sparks the citadel and management center innsbruck



Since independence in the early 1960s the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have generally viewed industrialization as an essential ingredient of economic development. Indeed, most of the world’s advanced nations are often grouped as the “industrial economies” and the progression from agriculture-based economies to manufacturing and service-based ones has been seen as key to development strategy. However, there is a growing literature that suggest that this path is no longer one that can necessarily be followed. Indeed, there is strong evidence that for many countries deindustrialization is actually the problem.

Infrastructure will need to play an even great role if the region is to successfully industrialize and meet its development targets. Of course roads form only a part of transportation infrastructure in African countries --albeit the most important part, as road transport accounts for 85% of the region’s passenger and freight and is the only form of access to most rural communities where 65% of the population live.

For the region to develop it must continue on its path of economic and political reform, but at the same time it must look at improving its basic infrastructure, especially good roads and find new means for increased mobility for the majority. Improved road infrastructure is vital if Africa is to escape the scourge of deindustrialization. This paper examines the phenomenon of deindustrialization and see how improved road transport might roll back that decline.

Author Biography

donald sparks, the citadel and management center innsbruck

Don Sparks has just returned from Addis Ababa where was as a Fulbright Specialist in Economics at the African Union Commission’s Department of Economic Affairs. He is Professor of International Economics at the Citadel in Charleston, SC, USA (where he has been named MBA Professor of the Year three times) and University Lecturer in International Business and Law at the Management Center Innsbruck, Austria.


Dr Sparks also serves as a Senior Consulting Associate in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US Department of State. He has been a Fulbright Professor of Economics at the University of Swaziland and at the University of Maribor, in Slovenia. He was also a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Swaziland. He was the Department Chairman and Visiting Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo. He is the Director of the Charleston Council for International Visitors and will join the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Association in January.


Before beginning his academic career, Dr Sparks served as the Regional Economist for Africa in the Office of Economic Analysis at the US Department of State in Washington, DC and as a Staff Assistant to Senator Ernest F Hollings.


Dr Sparks has published widely, including authoring the “Economic Trends” chapter of Africa South of the Sahara for each edition for the past 30 years. He has make presentations in over 20 countries in North America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. He has been a consultant for a number of international organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Council for Namibia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.


He received his MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and his BA from the George Washington University. Dr Sparks is married to Dr Katherine Saenger and they live in Charleston, South Carolina, USA and Seefeld in Tirol, Austria. They have two grown children and one grandson.






How to Cite

sparks, donald. (2016). Preventing Premature Deindustrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Importance of the Road Transportation Sector. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 3(3).