By Irene Gaitirira
Published January 29, 2018
Accelerating industrialisation across Africa will create jobs, reduce poverty and promote inclusive economic growth.
African Economic Outlook 2018, an annual report by the Abidjan (Ivory Coast)-based continental African Development Bank (AfDB), says that infrastructure projects are among the most profitable investments any society can make as they “significantly contribute to, propel, and sustain a country’s economic growth. Infrastructure, when well managed, provides the financial resources to do everything else.”
Consequently, AfDB says it is organising the Africa Investment Forum on November 7-8, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mobilise funds for infrastructure development, to bridge an estimated funding gap of US$130-US$170 billion a year, up from previous estimates of US$100 billion per year.
New infrastructure financing gap estimates and innovative ways through which African countries can raise funds for infrastructure development are among the highlights of the 2018 edition of the report, which was launched at the Bank’s headquarters for the first time in the publication’s 15-year history.
Urging African governments to encourage a shift toward labour-intensive industries–especially in rural areas where 70 percent of the continent’s population resides–Akinwumi Adesina, President of AfDB, contends that economic diversification is key to resolving many of the continent’s difficulties.
“Agriculture must be at the forefront of Africa’s industrialisation,” he says.”Integrated power and adequate transport infrastructure would facilitate economic integration, support agricultural value chain development and economies of scale which drive industrialisation.”
Adesina highlights the relatively unknown win-win situation that Africa’s industrialisation can generate within the developed world, citing data from the report, which notes that “increasing the share of manufacturing in GDP in Africa (and other Less Developing Countries) could boost investment in the G20 by about US$485 billion and household consumption by about US$1.4 trillion.”
The African Economic Outlook, that was first published in 2003, is available in English, French and Portuguese at AfDB.org/ website.