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AfCFTA: MAN lists reasons Nigeria, others face challenges

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has disclosed that Nigeria and other countries in the continent are finding it difficult to attain industrialisation amid numerous manufacturing sector challenges. Indeed, the association said that the rate of industrialisation in Africa had been slow and unimpressive, attributing this to low industrial capacity utilisation, meagre manufacturing activities and decrease in export of within and outside the continent. Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, made this known to New Telegraph, while commenting on industrialisation in Africa and the need to position African industries for economic transformation and continental free trade in Lagos.

He said that industrialisation was a catalyst for economic growth and development. He explained that ironically, majority of the developing economies in Africa had very weak manufacturing base and low industrial development, despite several industrial policies and reforms. Ajayi-Kadir said: “It is generally believed that industrialisation is a catalyst for economic growth and development.

“Appreciable manufacturing capacity and competitiveness are key components of any viable industrial agenda. “Most developed economies today achieved enduring growth and development through advanced manufacturing capability. “In fact, analyst generally agree that no country can attain the status of being developed without a virile manufacturing base, with the capacity to move the economy from primary production to manufacturing export. “Ironically, majority of the developing economies in Africa have very weak manufacturing base and low industrial development, despite several industrial policies and reforms.

In most African countries, just like in Nigeria, transiting the economy from agrarian to industry-led economy has been the focus of successive Government for decades now. “Although the policy dispositions and implementation strategies of governments in Africa change from time to time, the broad goals remain to create more employment opportunities, scale up the production of consumer goods for the teaming population and generate wealth for the nation.

“These have been paramount in public sector planning. “However, the rate of industrialisation in Africa has been slow and unimpressive. This is evidenced by low industrial capacity utilisation, meagre manufacturing activities and decrease in export of manufactured products within and outside the continent,” the MAN director-general added. According to a World Bank Data, Africa’s share of world output of 3.0 per cent in 2019 was less than India’s 3.1 per cent and equals South Korea’s 3.0 per cent for the year. Of course, he noted that the share of the continent was almost incomparable with China’s 28.7 per cent and America’s 16.8 per cent for the same year. In addition, the MAN DG stressed further that the 26 per cent share of exports of manufactures to total exports on the continent is dwarfed by what obtains in most other regions of the world such as the South Asia’s 71 per cent, America’s 60 per cent and EU’s 79 per cent. He said: “This is a cause for concern, an unpalatable trajectory and a narrative that all stakeholders need to work together to change in order to achieve inclusive and sustained economic transformation.

“To reverse this uninspiring situation, there is the need to ascertain what must be done to make industrialization a priority and major driver of trade. This will change the narrative of de-industrialisation and dwindling export of manufactured products in the continent. “Undoubtedly, industrialisation is critical to the structural transformation of the continental economy and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to provide the vehicle for fasttracking industrial development. With AfCFTA, there will be opportunities for wider utilisation of the resource endowments of the continent, efficient production system and competitiveness enhancement.”

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