Harnessing Africa’s Resources for Industrial and Economic Growth


Harnessing Africa’s natural resources for industrial and economic growth

A news analysis by Chidi Opara, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Businesses grow through proper financing and investment and nations grow through good policies that inspire investment and industrialization.

A nation is said to be underdeveloped if it is unable to meet the economic, social, health and other needs of its citizens. Unfortunately, this is the fate of most African countries today.

According to the experts, development goes through the improvement of the standard of living of the citizens, the increase of their per capita income; industries and investments are the factors that lead to this goal.

Industries improve productivity, generate jobs and create wealth.

Countries invest in activities and policies that generate economic development and increase gross domestic product (GDP). Industrial development remains one of the instruments to achieve this.

Conversely, countries that lack industry risk mass unemployment, low per capita income, extreme poverty and underdevelopment.

It is in this context that the United States Latin American Chamber of Commerce (USLACC) organized the African and Foreign Investment Trade Summit (AFRIFITS) in Abuja to boost Africa’s economic growth.

The theme of the event was “Promotion of African businesses, synergy and rapprochement of foreign investments”.

Speaking at the event, USLACC President, Dr. Manolo Cevallos, said AFRIFIT’s goal was to promote Africa as a global industrialization hub.

He said African economic growth was achievable if only foreign investors, Africans in the Diaspora and African business communities came together to invest in the continent.

Cevallos represented at the event by Mrs. Ifeoma Ejiogu, staff member of USLAAC, said AFRIFITS also aims to help reform the economy of African nations with a view to accelerating international trade and investment.

He said an African region of the USLAAC was meant to promote Africa’s international trade potential.

He said the world’s attention is now turning to Africa to unlock the next wave of global trade and economic opportunities with its largely untapped human and material resources.

Mr. Bethran Uzodinma, an industrialist, said that to make Africa one of the world’s industrial hubs, policy makers must project its strengths to the market, such as its largely young population and huge mining deposits, to the investment community.

Mr. Uche Egenti from the Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) called on Nigerian entrepreneurs to rise to the challenge of socio-economic development on the continent.

“It is time for Africa to industrialize. The government cannot do everything. It is time to think together and develop concepts that will catapult Africa into the world,” Egenti said.

This view has been echoed by African leaders in different forums.

For example, at the just 2022 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) in New York, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, urged investors to support Africa’s lucrative agribusiness.

He told world leaders that Africa is ready for business in new frontiers such as manufacturing, technology and food processing and production.

Local manufacturing will ensure that African economies benefit from reduced reliance on imported products from countries like China, Japan and European countries, with positive implications for the market value of their local currencies.

There is also a need to increase investment in oil and gas to ensure that the sector benefits the people of Africa.

Zamfara is one of the states in Nigeria where many mineral resources in commercial quantities have remained largely underutilized leading to very little industrialization.

At a recent meeting of investment stakeholders hosted by the Government of India in Abuja, the Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Hassan Nasiha, urged the federal government to connect the state with foreign investors for optimal use of its many mineral resources.

Nasiha, who made the call through his Director General for Media Affairs, Babangida Zurmi, said the state has huge deposits of gold, iron ore, tantalite, zinc, copper and gypsum, among many other solid minerals.

It said its metallic and non-metallic resources lay idle in nearly all of the state’s 14 local government areas.

Nasiha said it was the desire of the state government to ensure that these mineral deposits have a positive impact on the lives of people in the state.

Similarly, at a symposium marking the 62nd anniversary of Nigerian/a Independence, the keynote speaker, Ms Ibironke Adeagbo, chartered accountant and chief executive of a UK-based charity, IA-Foundation, said investing in education was key to unraveling the industrialization puzzle from Nigeria.

She argued that Nigeria has not adequately funded an education system capable of producing young entrepreneurs with the know-how to maximize the country’s resources for industrial growth.

But all is not bleak as some states have taken initiatives to create an enabling environment for industrialization to flourish.

One such state is Gombe, which recently said it plans to hold an investment summit to attract investors to tap into business opportunities in the state.

In Katsina State, the state government is gearing up to host a groundbreaking economic summit for its two mega economic zone projects.

According to the government, the move is aimed at projecting the potential of the state in textiles and other agricultural products that the state is endowed with. (NAN Features)

** If used, please credit the writer and Nigeria News Agency

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