Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of New Partnership for African¡¯s Development (NEPAD)
African countries need to be strategic and work collaboratively in promoting industrialization in the continent as this will help in creating employment opportunities and become competitive in a global trading world, a senior official has revealed.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki the Chief Executive Officer of New Partnership for African's Development (NEPAD) told journalists' attending the 27th African Union Summit in Kigali that the biggest challenges impeding the continent was a "Trade" whereby countries are not trading with each, lack of enough infrastructure and poverty.
Speaking at a press conference immediately after the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) meeting held on 16 July 2016 at the margin of the AU Summit, Dr Mayaki observed that the continent has the youngest population in the world that will need employment adding that clear strategies would be needed to facilitate the continent¡¯s new generation.
Trade continues to play a major role in Africa's economic growth performance and it has the potential to promote trade-induced industrialization of the continent provided it is deliberately directed at industrialization.
For this purpose, trade policy must be consciously designed, effectively implemented and managed with regular monitoring and evaluation.
No doubt, Africa's industrialization should take advantage of its abundant and diverse resources including agricultural and mineral resources, however, the continent should exploit its comparative advantage in commodity-based industrialization and add-value to these resources using its abundant human capital.
"Our young generation needs jobs, they need food, clean water, and we must utilize the current size and potential opportunities we have in the continent to promote our industrialization in Africa," Dr Mayaki said Saturday while addressing the international and local media.
The huge challenges facing the continent are to maintain strong economic growth and to transform it to productivity-induced sustainable, inclusive, employment-generating, poverty-reducing, and environmentally-friendly growth.
The greatest deficiency of the current growth episode is its inability to promote the structural transformation of the economies of the region. Rudimentary agricultural practices and provision of services dominate the structure of African economies.
This overt dependence on traditional agriculture and services sectors can only support limited growth. Industrialization with its capability to generate direct and indirect employment, strong forward and backward linkages with other sectors of the economy including external sector not only promises to transform African economies but also to ensure that growth translates into sustainable development.
"We must provide assistance to the small-scale farmers and women if the continent is to develop economically. Investment in cross-border infrastructures like railway lines would be another factor to move our continent at the attractive level," Dr. Mayaki added.
He mentioned that in Africa, informal small scale entrepreneurs invest $100billion annually adding that if these informal investors were facilitated to the formal level it would yield immense opportunities for the continent.
On promoting agriculture as a cornerstone to the poverty eradication and enhancing investment in the sector, the NEPAD CEO further observed that Africa needs to embark on the implementation of Maputo declaration as this will create more investment opportunities to the continent.
At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the "Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa¡±.
The Declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.
"Despite the declaration, some countries have gone ahead to implement it while others are yet to do so however officials are calling for its full implementation for the betterment of the continent," concluded Dr. Mayaki.