Monday, November 3, 2008

Africa's industrialisation key to achieving MDGs

DURBAN: Through accelerated industrialisation and the strategic use of the international demand for natural resources, Africa will be able to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This is according to the Africa Union (AU) commissioner for trade and industries, Elisabeth Tankeu, who said that for Africa to eradicate poverty and achieve rapid and sustainable development, it will have to step up the pace of its industrialisation process.

The commissioner was speaking at the 18th Conference of African Ministers of Industry on Monday, 27 October, 2008.

Tankeu said the experience of industrialised and newly-industrialising nations was significant to making improvements in terms of trade performance, the growth of gross domestic product (GDP), employment and the eradication of poverty.

"Africa remains the least developed region of the world despite its rich endowment of natural resources. I attribute this largely to the weakness of our industrial base," said the commissioner, who questioned by Africa continued to export natural resources in crude form to power the industrial development of other regions.

She highlighted that a declaration and plan of action for the accelerated industrial development of Africa was adopted early last year.

The issue of Africa's industrialisation has been under focus for some time now, said Tankeu, adding that the persistent low levels of Africa's share in global industrial output and in the exports of manufactured goods said much about the effectiveness of efforts of previous leaders.

"This is Africa's turn to be industrialised and we need effective implementation of the action plan adopted in Midrand." She said, adding the strategy must enable Africa to accelerate the pace of its industrialisation.

The commissioner said industrialisation would lead to a industrial sector which would act as a strong engine for sustainable economic growth and development.

"To facilitate the realisation of Africa's dream for accelerated industrial development there must be an increased political will by African leaders to claim the 21st century for our citizens.

"As the continent, we should capitalise on the increasing global competition and the strong demand for Africa's natural resources on the global market," emphasised Tankeu.

The global financial instability provides a window of opportunity to negotiate natural resource exploitation agreements that put more emphasis on local processing and value addition, the commissioner explained.

Article published courtesy of BuaNews [29 Oct 2008]