AFRICANGLOBE – One of Africa’s harsh realities is not the absence of resources but the lack of the will to transform the continent’s economies to influence the global agenda.
Much of Africa’s leadership is sucked up in activities that seek to perpetuate their stay in power.
While presenting a paper at the G20 African summit in Johannesburg, South Africa recently, Godber Tumushabe, a former executive director of the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, said whereas Africa’s growth in the past two decades could not be disputed, it has not been transformative and is out of touch with the ordinary man.
A report released recently by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) bears him out. It says whereas poverty reduced from 24.5 per cent to 22 per cent in 2012/13, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. Income inequality increased from 42.1 per cent to 43.1 per cent.
Mr. Tumushebe said that with much of Africa still relying on agriculture, there has not been much transformation in terms of industrialisation, manufacturing and technology.
When a country achieves a stage where its people can be employed in other sectors of the economy that are fed by agriculture, the sector is deemed to have grown to commercial levels.
Dr Ali Seid Nuru, a member of the Ethiopian Economics Association, said economic transformation slowly weeds out subsistence agriculture in the long term.
In his presentation at the same summit organised by the South African Institute for International Affairs, Dr Nuru said Ethiopia was on course to achieve economic transformation, with more people getting away from agriculture to the service and manufacturing sectors. He said 45 per cent of Ethiopians are in the service sector compared with 44 per cent in agriculture and 11 per cent in manufacturing.
In Uganda, more than 60 per cent of the population is employed in the agriculture sector. The service sector employs about 28 per cent and less than 7 per cent work in the industrial and manufacturing sector, according to Ubos.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, with an average growth of 10.6 per cent per annum, supported by concerted development in infrastructure, especially energy and the road network. Uganda has been growing at an average of 5.4 per cent.
By: Othman Semakula