© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Africa is currently the only continent that is yet to experience sustained industrial growth and structural transformation. The continent's position as the last frontier for industrial growth became clear following the spectacular transformations of the Chinese economy since the late 1970s. While it is often emphasized that Africa must improve its industrial capacities and diversify its economies in order to achieve real growth and development, there is little clarity on the most effective model and strategies for the continent's industrialization. This article conceptually examines the Washington Consensus versus the Beijing development models, and empirically presents their evolution in Africa. Drawing on a modified Fukuyama's state theory which differentiates between the strength of state institutions and the scope of state activities, this article argues that strengthening African states is a prerequisite for the success of any development model. The article provides strategies for strengthening state capacity in African countries from weak to moderately strong states.