By Khalifa Hemed
Published April 3, 2018
Rapid industrialisation of Africa would help raise productivity, spur technological progress and innovation and create higher-skilled jobs in the formal sector.
African Development Bank (AfDB), that shall hold its annual Boards of Governors meetings in Busan, South Korea, May 21 -25, 2018, says it is focusing on ‘Accelerating Africa’s industrialisation’ that, it says, is good for both Africa and the world.
AfDB says industrialisation would promote linkages between services and agricultural sectors and rural and urban economies. Industrialisation will also make the prices of manufactured exports less volatile or susceptible to long-term deterioration than those of primary goods, as well as help African countries escape dependence on primary commodity exports.
The bank laments that though Africa has enjoyed strong economic growth for almost two decades, the continent has not seen a commensurate rise in industrialization and that, on average, African industry generates merely US$700 of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Additionally, African exports consist of low technology manufactures and unprocessed natural resources.
Saying its meetings are one of the largest economic gatherings on the continent, bringing thousands of delegates, Heads of State, public and private sectors stakeholders, development partners and academics, AfDB says it has decided to focus on industrialisation as an avenue to improve the living conditions of Africans.
The highlight of the meetings, AfDB says, shall be a high-level presidential panel on Accelerating African Industrialization: Bringing the future to the present. The panel will be a platform for political leaders from Africa and Korea to present their visions and strategies for industrialisation as well as ideas for overcoming implementation challenges.
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AfDB says it shall also launch the updated version of its African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2018 publication.
Several knowledge events, AfDB says, are on the programme such as Pathways to Industrialization, where panelists will deliberate on the various trajectories African countries can follow towards sustainable industrialization. A panel on Future of Work and Industrialization will examine how Africa can adapt its educational systems and workers’ skills to suit new economic realities, particularly for industrial development of the continent, among other sessions.