Industrialisation Imperative For Africa’s Development

Industrialisation Imperative For Africa's Development
Some African countries are already creating special industrial zones

AFRICANGLOBE – The continent’s 2013 economic report was officially launched in Soa yesterday June 13.

The 2013 economic report on Africa jointly produced by the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union holds that the continent has real opportunities from its rich natural and human resources to promote economic transformation and to address poverty, inequality and youth unemployment. But, to make the most out of its commodity boom, there was need to capitalise on industrialisation for growth, jobs and economic revolution.

The 256-page report was officially launched on the campus of the University of Yaounde II, Soa, yesterday June 13 in a ceremony chaired by Cameroon’s  Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Yaouba Abdoulaye, and attended among others by other cabinet ministers, diplomats and scholars.

It holds that in the phase of global crisis, the continent showed proof of resilience in 2012 to have a 5 per cent growth rate; its mid-term economic prospects for 2013 are strong with 4.8 per cent in 2013 and 5.1 per cent in 2014. In Cameroon, increased oil and gas production accelerated growth to 4.5 per cent.

Disturbingly, the impressive growth story, the report notes, has not translated into economic diversification, commensurate jobs or faster social development. This is so because most countries still largely depend on commodity production and export, with very little value addition.

The limited impact of commodity-driven growth on employment and social development is further compounded by liberalising reforms and globalisation, which in the absence of serious government policies to promote economies’ production capacities and ability to compete in the international markets, have left a legacy of inappropriate incentives and institutions that threaten economic and political stability.

To transform development visions into reality, the report advocates timetables and benchmarks, positive and negative sanctions, inter-ministerial coherence, and human resource capacity and political will to be jointly put in place. This entails adopting a coherent industrial policy, creating institutional industrial policy mechanism, running supply-chain development programmes among major commodity firms, boosting local skills and technologies, addressing infrastructural bottlenecks, coordinating ministries to improve policy implementation and negotiating regional trade agreements and fostering intra-African trade.

Speaking during the report launch, the Director of the Economic Commission for Africa, Emile Ahohe, said the report is an instrument that the two institutions use to sensitise decision-makers on economic prospects and what could be done to improve the countries’ economic performance in the phase of global quandaries. Yaouba Abdoulaye described the report as a valuable document whose timely production would help government in the implementation of its growth vision contained in Growth and Employment Strategy Paper.