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New economic report on Africa reveals promising industrialization

Mahlet Fasil

 

The 2014 edition of the Economic Commission for Africa flagship report was launched Monday in Addis Ababa, with the unanimous view that industrialization is crucial to Africa’s continued development. Aptly themed, “Dynamic Industrial Policy in Africa,” the Report outlines several key messages, including the crucial fact that “industrial policy in Africa is essential if we are to address market failures and build capabilities within the continent.”In remarks at the opening, Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECA reiterated Africa’s current narrative of economic progress and successful development and said, “We are witnessing a growth assertiveness on the continent that has resulted in better macroeconomic performance like never before.”

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Citing the development of mobile banking in Kenya, Mr. Hamdok added that
African countries are now making such great strides in technology that they are
becoming exporters of technology. Yet as cautioned by Hamdok, the continent
still faces challenges on its path to industrialization. He told the forum that
African countries must now depart from the past and institute a different kind
 of industrial policy framework. “This is why we continue to dig further on this
particular theme, because it was not enough to make the case for
 industrialization, we have to demonstrate how it should be
done,” he said.

 

He highlighted several vital findings of the report, including the fact that industrial
policy goals must be driven by priorities. “The common underlying imperative
 is that State support is vital to addressing market failures and institutionalizing
industrial policy at the highest levels of government so that it becomes part and
parcel of the regular decision-making and monitoring mechanism, stressed
Hamdok.“It is possible for African countries to become industrialized
and more so, that this is the time for it to happen as the ERA
2014 tries to demonstrate,” he added.
For his part, the Director of ECA’s Macroeconomic Policy Division,
Mr. Adam Elhiraika emphasized that Africa’s growth story “is not
just an oil and ineral story as countries without these resources
are growing economically similar to their counterparts.”

 

“In Africa, trade within the continent is more conducive to growth
because it is more diversified and more industrialized,” he said
and mentioned that ganda is currently the main trading partner
to Kenya.Mr. Elhraika presented the report’s outcomes, stating
the requirements for a successful industrial policy framework.
These include among others, the need for the framework to be
dynamic and organic; to foster continuous dialogue between the
country’s public and private sector and the assurance of high
level coordination and political support from the country’s
government. 

 

In response to the report, Mr. Ahmed Nuru, Special Adviser to the
Ethiopia’s State Minister for Industry, Federal Democratic Republic
 of Ethiopia said that Africa has been on a growth trajectory for
the past decade.  “The role of the government is very key in terms of
filling the gaps of industrialization within the continent”, he said.

 

Mr Endalkachew Sime, Deputy Secretary General and Advocacy
Department Manager, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and
Sectoral Association told the forum that “there is a delicate
balance to be dealt with in promoting private sector development
in Africa and industrialization is all about advocating resources
for better development.”
Mr Nebil Kellow, Chief Executive Officer of First Consult in
Ethiopia recommended the need for African governments to be
clear areas of focus in relation to the quest for effective
industrialization as the sector, industry and country involved
is all equally relevant. He said that the roles of leading enterprises
and the understanding of their capabilities are crucial to
industrialization. 

 

 

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