The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Mr Senyo Hosi is urging Africa to fully industrialise in order to optimise the value of its natural resources.
According to him, the time has come for Africa to structurally transform its economies from a primitive primary production model to a secondary and tertiary production model.
“Africa cannot continue to export crude and import petroleum products. It cannot continue to export copper and import electrical cables; export cotton and import used clothing, export coffee and import Starbucks. It is unacceptable that Africa outpaces the world in arable land per capita and yet it is food insecure,” Mr Hosi emphasised.
Speaking at the 2018 African Development and Investment Convention (ADIC) on the topic “Africa Rising- Lacing Politics, Industry and True Partnership for Sustainable Development”, in Zurich, Switzerland, Mr Hosi indicated that the current primary level-based production of Africa makes the continent highly vulnerable to commodity price changes on the world market.
He noted that while cocoa beans may experience volatility and weakness in prices, the prices of Cadbury and Lindt chocolates were relatively stable.
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This phenomenon, he said, affirms the economic view that exports of manufactured products were a lot less volatile and sensitive to long term price deterioration, which makes it prudent for Africa to industrialise.
He lamented that it was sad to see countries like Switzerland, which do not produce cocoa to be rather known to produce the best chocolates in the world with raw materials from poor farmers in places like Asankragua in Ghana.
“In simple terms Africa must industrialise to survive in tomorrow’s world and build a meaningful environment for its growing youth.
“As argued by the African Economic Outlook (2018), industrialization is a critical tool in employment generation and poverty reduction and it spurs technological advancement and innovation as well as productivity gains. These are critical competencies required for the survival of any region in today’s and tomorrow’s technological world, a world driven by Artificial Intelligence and critical skills, such as innovation, visionary leadership and effective policy formulation and management,” he stated.
Mr Hosi established that manufacturing compared to other sectors was particularly well suited to create direct and indirect jobs with better pay and working conditions, which would go a long way to improve the challenges of inequality and poverty.
He explained that industrialisation would address Africa’s employment concerns and transform its high economic growth rates into increased domestic revenue mobilisation for development.
He added that, currently, most African countries were performing below the required threshold of 25% of GDP to support infrastructure investment.
To achieve industrialisation, Mr Hosi noted that policy making must be deliberate and thorough; from the educational and skills development system all through to the realignment of institutions to ensure success.
He also mentioned that to achieve the desired industrialisation of Africa for sustainable development, Africa needed to strengthen its institutions by depoliticising, detribalising and building them on the principles of meritocracy and accountability.
This, he said would serve as the bedrock for policy credibility and effectiveness and would require the need to realign politics and Africa’s industry and entrepreneurship.