…tasks Nigeria, others to boost continent’s capacity
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has disclosed that the survey by African Development Bank (AfDB) that put Africa at the bottom of the global value chain due to its less than two per cent global share in manufacturing is a wake up call for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Adebayo stated this while delivering a speech, titled: ‘Positioning African Industries for Economic Transformation and Continental Free Trade,’ at a roundtable organised by Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos recently.
According to him, the AfDB’s survey implies that the processing of raw materials on the continent is very low, leading the continent to lose out on job opportunities, larger export trade volumes and increased foreign exchange earnings. Adebayo stressed that the situation was even worse in some countries that are further embattled by a combination of structural constraints and political instability, which jeopardise efforts for private sector-led economic diversification and transformation.
He said: “Towards this end, to unleash our full industrial poten-tial, African countries must embark on audacious agenda, preferably driven by private sector-led investments to ensure the economic transformation of the continent, specifically through industrialisation.” On AfCFTA implementation, the minister said: “This is even more germane with the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
“AfCFTA will enhance Africa’s capacity to unlock growth and create jobs by building our industrial capacity, enlarging our productivity and making us more competitive globally. “MAN is pivotal in ensur-ing Nigerian businesses remain competitive in this new environment.” While speaking further on how to reposition Nigerian industries to lead the economic transformation of the country and the continent at large, Adebayo explained: “First of all, I believe all stakeholders need to work together to come up with specific measures and initiatives to improved on the cost competitiveness of players in the sector.
“As you may all be aware, cost competitiveness is a major challenge of the manufacturing sector and my ministry is working hard to improve the situation in various ways. “For example, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to lower the cost of gas, which is critical to the productions of energy for the sector.
“This is one factor that can significantly impact the competitiveness of items manufactured in Nigeria. “Another way that Nigerian industries can position themselves for the African economic transformation is by aligning themselves for the country’s industrialisation programme.
“The overall aim of this programme is to drive job intensive growth of the Nigerian economy by increasing domestic economic activities, especially local production through the domestication of key selected priority products, namely, automobiles, dairy products, palm oil, sugar, cassava starch, cotton, textile and garments