It is time for Africa to take the lead and accelerate sustainable industrialisation for the continent.
This, is a catalyst that will drive the African future for the next 15 years, in line with the newly adopted sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially goal number nine.
Goal nine urges countries of the world to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Challenges of power, infrastructure and proper financing of the real sector will have to be faced headlong by the African region, if they must achieve the new set of goals .
A high-level sideline event at the 70th United Nations General Assembly, convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the operationalisation of the 2030 agenda for Africa’s Industrialisation, called for an inclusive partnership of African Countries irrespective of income or financial levels.
Africa industrialisation has been unsuccessful for the past 40 years and this is the time to reverse the trend. Investors should be encouraged to move into Africa where industrialisation is yet to be realised, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission said at the side event on Saturday.
To fix the problem of energy in Africa, a tenth of the annual taxes collected can go a long way, African Development Bank’s President, Akinwunmi Adesina opined.
A lingering problem the continent which is power can be fixed with 10% of the $548 billion collected annually as taxes across different sectors.
“As at today total amount of taxes we collect in Africa is $548 billion a year, we need only $55 billion to solve Africa’s energy problem, 10% of Africa’s taxes can solve that problem if we stop capital flows out of Africa, with $60 billion a year we will stop that problem.
“If all our financial institutions and even the donor partners met 0.7% of their side of the GNI we will generate $168 billion and that will solve the problem”, Adesina said adding that there was no need to be scared of the financing “we just have to make use of the private sector to increase investment and unlocking the financing”.
African leaders at the event underscored the need for accelerated industrialisation, through manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, amongst others.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari urged African leaders to adopt practical policies and strategies that will see the region attaining industrialization.
According to him, Africa needs to safeguard the interest of local production in an era of rampant globalisation, reiterating the need for enhanced regional and cross border cooperation.
Noting that Nigeria alongside many other African countries were facing power shortages, negatively imparting on the potential growth of the region. Buhari said “industrialization cannot take place without reliable energy infrastructure. We are therefore working on a comprehensive overhaul of our power industry”.
“For us in Nigeria, we are placing emphasis on diversification of our economy using Small and Medium Enterprises, energy and mining sectors and agro-allied industries. Specifically, we can attest to the viability of Small businesses to boost growth and create more jobs for the youth and serve as the precursor of full industrialisation” he added.
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn in his remarks said Africa must not repeat the mistake of its forefathers, by not focusing on its comparative advantage adding that this has stopped them from quickly industrialising.
Africa, he said must not neglect Agriculture adding that industrialisation should be export led with a focus on our local companies while trying to attract Foreign Direct Investments.
“African leaders should focus on key binding prospects. This is the time to have renewable energy resources which is our comparative advantage in Africa. ADB and others should help with financing”.
Africa cannot develop with what it does not have, we need a mix of energy both conventional and renewable energy
The leaders called on the international community to raise its financial support in line with Goal 9 of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to back industrial and infrastructural projects.
They called on the private sector to recognize Africa’s export and domestic market potentials, while also inviting foreign investors to increase their commitment to the continent .
“Now that the world has adopted the 2030 agenda, we invoke all stakeholders to join forces and form a new global partnership for its implementation, particularly for the most vulnerable countries in Africa” a communique signed at the event.