Abstract: This study uses nightlight time data and machine learning techniques to predict industrial development in Africa. The results provide the first evidence on how machine learning techniques and nightlight data can be used to predict economic development in places where subnational data are missing or not precise. Taken together, the research confirms four groups of important determinants of industrial growth: natural resources, agriculture growth, institutions, and manufacturing imports. Our findings indicate that Africa should follow a more
multisector approach for development, putting natural resources and agriculture productivity growth at the forefront.