Ethiopia: NEPAD reveals plan to revive slowing industrialization in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, which implements African Union plans, is moving to revive ailing industrialization efforts within Africa after the development of an industrialization plan, Chief Executive Officer, Ibrahim Mayaki said Sunday.

The NEPAD CEO said industrialization efforts took off in some countries in Africa, which include Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and Kenya, but there was need to revive these efforts, through the identification of regional drivers of industrialization growth and manufacturing.

Mayaki said a new continental strategy on industrialization has been developed, which recognises the need for Africa to rapidly industrialise, using its vast natural resources, including minerals.

“The best level to start our industrialization is at the regional level. It is from the regional level where industries can flourish better because they would enjoy enlarged markets,” Mayaki told reporters at the AU Summit, where he met the youth for an engagement session.

The African leaders attending the 29th session of the AU Summit have dedicated discussions to “Harnessing the Youth Dividend.” The leaders are extending these talks to focus on policies, which include education, training at higher levels and entrepreneurship, to benefit the youth.

The continent’s leaders believe part of what is required to fire regional economic development is to involve the youth who have been properly trained to effectively handle complex industrial operations.

NEPAD Agency views the development of skills through training as crucial for Africa’s industrialization.

The AU industrialization strategy comes in the wake of similar ventures by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is allocating US$34-56 billion dollars over a decade to finance industrialization programmes in Africa.

Mayaki said for African countries to industrialise, they require investments into the agriculture sector. This investment would make agriculture a more lucrative sector, rather than a sector driven by poor returns. The plan calls for entrepreneurship to accompany the industrialization initiatives.

Mayaki said effective industrialization would begin to take effect when the youth take advantage of the technology transfers and urbanization, which is currently taking place in Africa, was accompanied by rapid efforts to industrialise.

“Africa is a late comer to industrialization. Industrialisation is the continent would be based on technology transfer to the agriculture sector. This would be through effective technologies such as solar power for irrigation and the general infrastructure in the agricultural fields,” Mayaki said.

Mayaki said urbanization, which has often been defined by the massive movement of populations from rural to urban, should be backed by industrialization, for it to be effective and beneficial to Africa.

“Agriculture takes place in rural areas but agriculture has not been linked to industrialization. We are urbanizing but not industrializing,” the NEPAD CEO said.

The issue of industrialization remains a top priority and talking point for key members of the AU Commission.

AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Kwesi Quartey and AU’s outgoing Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Anthony Maruping, said the African continent has already showed its ability to industrialise by launching high-speed railway networks, against expectations that it even lacked low-speed connections.

The deputy Chairperson said industrialization for Africa largely depended on how well African countries prepared themselves to take the challenge and implement its own plans.

“It is possible for us to industrialise. It all depends on how well-organised we are,” Quartey said told reporters.

NEPAD said the states in Africa must play the most critical role in industrializing the continent.

Maruping said electricity has been enhanced, ports, railways and roads have also been improved, which are indicators of a fast industrializing region of the world.

“Africa can actually leapfrog in technology and innovation. We have launched high-speed rail networks in Kenya, Morocco and the Ethiopia-Djibouti. When we got started, everyone was saying we could not dream of high-speed railway networks when we did not even have the slowest moving trains,” Maruping said.
-0- PANA AO/MA 2July2017

02 july 2017 15:45:24

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