The Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, charged Nigeria to lead Africa’s industrialisation process.
He said Nigeria’s resources and population place her in a vantage position to grow the economy of the continent through industrialisation.
Akufo-Addo stated this in Lagos as a guest speaker at the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN).
He urged that stock be taken of the prevailing policy framework, while measuring them against the current industrialisation, to determine if there was need to deepen the policy initiative.
Akufo-Addo said the continent’s biggest challenge was her inability to transform the abundant natural resources into opportunities for the creation of jobs and wealth.
He urged policymakers on the need for right mix of policies to fully unearth and develop the entrepreneurial talents that abound in Nigeria in particular, and Africa generally.
The Ghanaian president criticised what he described as the lazy approach of African countries in always rushing to the international markets to selling products in their raw state rather than adding value to them.
He said: “It is far better to leave our resources untapped till our future generations rise up to the challenge and conscientiously develop the best policy-mix that prioritises industrialisation as the most convenient cause to drive the much-needed socio-economic development.”
On the need to adding value to raw materials, Akufo-Addo, who was represented at the AGM by Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a Senior Minister, recalled a situation where his country and Cote D-Ivoire, produced 60 per cent or more of the world’s annual cocoa beans and yet earn less than six per cent of the global value chain activities of the cocoa industry.
He said: “Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, with their collective production of 60 per cent of global cocoa beans, earned only about $6.0 billion in 2016, but the chocolate industry earned at the same time about $120 billion.”
He harped on the need to ensure that the continent has the capacity to support effective value addition, to enhancing her revenue position in the international market, pointing out that this calls for policy harmonisation, coordination, and effective collaboration between the public and private sectors to drive effective and time-tested industrial framework to fully utilise Africa’s natural resources.
The Ghanaian leader regretted that Africa has a combined population of 1.3 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.2trn, while United States of America with a population of about 328 million, and had a GDP of about $18.3trn.
He noted that Africa was about four times that of the USA, yet, USA’s GDP is about eight times that of Africa.
Akufo-Addo urged the continent to begin to trade among ourselves, concentrating on areas of comparative advantage.
According to him, the continent must begin to break the trade barriers among ourselves and form alliances with the various countries’ associations of industries and chambers of commerce.
He said through such associations, the continent may get to know the needs of the various countries and where there are opportunities of trade.