Pursue industrialisation

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The African Economic Outlook report 2017 has made it glaringly clear the toddling nature of our national growth and development, as our nation is tipped to be wallowing in industrial poverty with as low as 5.2 per cent industrialisation of the country.

Its latest findings, which was published by our paper over the weekend, states that such a “fairly low” level of industrialisation has been exemplified by the level of manufacturing value added (MVA) per capita, which includes the lack of technological innovation, difficult market access, the absence of reliable and cheap energy, and sub-optimal infrastructure.

The finding or report has really come out with the diagnostic result of our national industrialisation status, which poses serious challenges and work for us as a nation, especially our current government.

Sooner or later, we shall start to know whether the Barrow government is up to the task of transforming this country.

It is said the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The former government has come and gone without doing much of a sober work or transformation of our industrial and economic status, because it “operated under executive directives and other undemocratic and poor human rights values”.

With the field now left in the hands of the current government, it is expected that one among key things to put in place or revolutionise is the industrial level of the nation.

And this, as the report states, looks at technological innovation, difficult market access, the absence of reliable and cheap energy, and sub-optimal infrastructure.

Whereas manufacturing is key, the report calls for more emphasis to be also placed on incorporating additional sectors with high growth potential, such as agro-processing and services with high value addition.

Consideration is also given to the private sector and entrepreneurship among other employment creation mechanisms.

The trade minister emphasised this fact by saying: “Industrialisation is key and so is addressing youth unemployment and empowering communities; having participatory approaches and policies in place will mean we know where we are moving.”

We may be thinking in the right direction, but we really cannot go too far from industrialisation and manufacturing because this area is realistically the major, long lasting ladder to climb, if we are to really create more employment for the youth and people in general; alleviate poverty, as well as produce much to export and generate foreign currencies or reserves that will help our nation meet its balance of payments at the level of international market.

Although it cannot be quick-fixed, industrialising our nation would be a major step forward in transforming our economic and national development. Any government or nation that fails to industrialise is bound to be trailing behind other nations in the line of true development. 

The comparison that was made between us with 5% of industrialisation and Senegal with 13% gives an eye-opener view to the fact that nations that are getting much more industrialised are economically better than those that are not doing much in industrialisation.

Therefore, in this day and age, we really need to think industrialisation and set our focus on achieving major scores in it.

“If we succeed in carrying out this industrialization, the social, economic, technical, and also artistic problems will be readily solved”

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe