NECA makes case for manufacturing sector to build resilient economies for Africa

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) says industrialisation, pivotal to Africa’s long-term development will require broadening and deepening  of the manufacturing sector to build more resilient economies.

Mr Timothy Olawale, the Director-General of the association made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday to commemorate the Africa Industrialisation Day marked annually on Nov. 20.

“Africa is endowed with vast resources in agriculture, mining and maritime, which if properly harnessed can stimulate a resource-based industrialisation strategy.

“Since one of the causes of high poverty rates in Africa is the scarcity of sustainable and well-paid jobs, the growth of the manufacturing sector will most likely lead to job creation, especially for the youths.

“Considering that the manufacturing industry represents one-quarter to one-third of total job creation in other regions of the world, industrial development in Africa will most likely create new opportunities, more jobs and contribute to poverty alleviation,” he said.

The director-general said that a holistic approach to industrial policy focusing on diversification and economic complexity was critical to Africa’s development.

He said policymakers must emphasise five key drivers of successful manufacturing when elaborating industrial policies including human capital, cost, supply network, domestic demands and resources.

Olawale said, however, these five areas were not the only ones required for successful industrial policies.

“Decision makers should also facilitate research and development, enable technological innovation, curve the productivity gaps and increase competitiveness with deregulation.

“Also, facilitate the coordination among actors, upgrade their commodity sectors to add value and boost productivity and competitiveness and promote the development of higher-productivity sectors.

“There is plenty of ambition in Africa to industrialise for good reasons.

“Manufacturing is probably the only proven development model so far that has helped to bring jobs, export revenues and rapid and sustained prosperity to a range of poorer countries,” he said.

The NECA chief urged policymakers across the continent to reflect on and adopt strategies that would position the continent to compete favourably with other continents.

“The potential to achieving this is undeniably available,” Olawale said.

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