Investments in infrastructure, science, technology, industrial training and adequate funding are critical measures for Africa to industrialise, says Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie.
Nnadozie said this on Monday at the Third session of the Specialised Technical Committee of the African Union (AU) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration holding in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The ACBF is the African Union’s specialised agency for capacity development.
The meeting had as its theme: “Public Policies for Productive Transformation’’.
Nnadozie said that an emerging Africa was an Africa that could transform its own commodities so as to create value chains, generate jobs and overcome endemic youth unemployment.
According to him, the most advanced countries in Africa are those with visionary leadership, and so for the continent to industralise, it needs transformative leadership.
“Industrialisation for Africa’s economic emergence will require creating the right strategy and policy, mobilising resources and making the right investments in human capital and in knowledge and technology.
“Infrastructure is critical, especially energy and transport. Also, there is need to promote the emergence of entrepreneurs and industrialists and support small-scale industries’ entry, survival and growth,’’ he said.
To achieve this, Nnadozie said that there was the need for African states to increase investment in development of special technical skills needed for industrialisation.
“The continent’s present share of engineers stands at 35 per million people compared to 168 for Brazil, 2,457 for the European Union and 4,103 for the United States. .
“More than 10,000 medical graduates born or trained in Africa migrated and were registered to practice in the United States in 2011 alone.
“The continent has only two per cent of doctors while it bears around 24 per cent of the global burden of disease.
“Furthermore, in the fields of science and technology, it is estimated that only 28 per cent of students are enrolled in these programmes,’’ he said.
Nnadozie advised member states to create the enabling business environment to attract domestic and foreign investment in industries, provide the right incentives and ensure that bureaucrats do not continue to act adversely to the private sector.
He said that it was not enough for Africa to have the right strategy, policy and finance, but that if it must succeed in becoming industrialised, actions must be taken and policies implemented.
Also, the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Prof. Victor Harison, said that based on AU findings, the African economy grew by 4.7 per cent annually between 2000 and 2017.
He said this made Africa the world’s second fastest growing region.
“However, Africa’s economic performance remains non-inclusive and jobless.
“In view of the current high population growth comprised by 70 per cent youth, the continent must create more than 12 million jobs per year to prevent unemployment from rising.
“This implies that the transformation and diversification of our economies, technological innovation, promotion of digital economy and development of blue economy is imperative,’’ he said
Also speaking, the Minister of Finance, Cameroon, Mr Louis Motaze said that his country had taken innovative steps to achieve sustainable development.
He said that investments in infrastructure such as roads and ports were priorities of President Paul Biya’s administration. (NNN)
Edited by Ese E. Ekama