Africa had to urgently develop industrial policies that would underpin the diversification of its production structures, raise its competitiveness levels and expand its export basket, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said this week.
“It is only through these targeted policy interventions and the commensurate public and private investments that Africa can begin to raise manufacturing output and increase its share of global trade and production,” Davies stated at the second Nigeria International Investment Forum, in Lagos.
He added that as an overarching imperative, African countries must defend their policy space to craft industrial policies that would place the continent on a sustainable and inclusive growth trajectory.
Davies indicated that Africa’s growth had mainly been driven by the commodities’ boom and the rise of service industries on the back of products not produced in Africa.
He added that the next phase of Africa’s growth had to be rooted in a new paradigm of manufacturing and adding value to local products.
“A globally competitive manufacturing sector creates a sustainable economic system, encourages domestic and foreign investment, creates employment and improves a country’s balance of payments. It also creates employment beyond the manufacturing sector in supportive sectors such as financial services, infrastructure, information systems and education,” Davies said.
Further, he highlighted the need for integration in Africa.
“Such integration, however, must not only entail institutionalised market integration, but development integration, which emphasises cross-border infrastructure development as a means to strengthen and deepen industrialisation and create manufacturing value-chains in Africa.”
Davies also met with his counterpart Olusegun Aganga to discuss progress made since the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation between South Africa and Nigeria, in May.
As per the MoU, the Ministers agreed on a bilateral work programme that focused on industrial cooperation, small and medium-sized enterprises development and financing; trade facilitation; standards cooperation and infrastructure development.
The programme was aimed at facilitating increased trade in value-added products and bilateral investments between the two countries.