Traditional development cooperation has kept its distance from economic contexts as far as possible. Environmental and social components of development have been central to its work. However, decades of experience shows that if economic progress is lacking, social development will fail and the environment will be irreversibly damaged.
A sustainable industrial policy based on the principles of the Circular Economy, which incorporates the strengths of the respective regional natural resources, geography and geology and is characterized by (good) governance, is lacking in most of today’s developing countries.
More than a decade ago, Ethiopia recognized that an industrial policy must include education and training and has made impressive progress in economic and social development to date. Especially the resource-rich countries of Africa should formulate coherent sectoral policies as is the case in Rwanda. Sustainable economic growth with a high demand for labor is essential to generate increasing prosperity and to reduce migratory pressure, despite the high population growth prevalent in many countries.
Eco-efficiency in industrial and commercial parks, i.e. the use of unavoidable waste energy and products (heat, gases, liquids, waste) as input for other processes is state of the art in industrialized countries. In developing countries, such plans have so far only been implemented in relatively few exceptional cases. There is considerable potential here to make economic development more sustainable and sustainable in line with the principles of the Circular Economy.