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Africa Should Develop Sustained Manufacturing Industry Now. Stop Exporting Natural Assets

Commentary May 7, 2018

In his address to the 15th International Forum on Africa in Berlin, Germany, on September 5, 2015, the former chairman of Africa Progress Panel, Dr Kofi Annan, said that Africa is not poor, because it is blessed with massive wealth of natural resources. Dr Annan was absolutely correct in his address. Africa has abundant natural resources alias natural assets that include: plenty of uncultivated arable land, as well as vast deposits of important non-renewable natural resources like iron ore, cobalt, coal, oil, gas, gold, copper, diamonds, platinum, uranium, etc.

Notwithstanding, however, Africa needs to be very carefully at this stage of it's development, about what it does with the resources. While the ownership, use and management patterns of arable land in many African countries seem to be alright at the moment; that of non-renewable resources mentioned earlier, leaves much to be desired. Africa should strictly use it's non-renewable resources to build up a sustained manufacturing industry! It is now or never! Non-renewable resources should be used to produce locally the following: 1) Capital assets for the construction industry, e.g., construction equipment and machinery, as well as building materials like cement, steel, concrete products, plastic products, roofing materials, etc. The above should then be used locally to generate: a) Infrastructure including roads, railway systems, airports, ports, water supply systems, sewerage and storm water drainage systems, electricity supply networks, etc. b) Different types of built space including: residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings.

2) Capital assets for the transportation sector, e.g., lorries, buses, cars, train wagons and engines, boats, ships, airplanes, motorbikes, etc.

3) Capital assets for the agricultural and forestry sectors, e.g., tractors, harvesters, food processing plants, textile making machinery, etc. The suggested approach regarding use of Africa's non-renewable resources is of paramount important because with current exploitation of the resources at unprecedented industrial scale, the non-renewable resources reserves are likely to disappear within the next few decades. When that happens, Africa should have developed a fully fledged manufacturing industry, otherwise the continent may never be able to do that again. That is because, after the resources are gone, Africa will have to depend on imports for the same raw materials it is exporting at the moment, in order to develop its own manufacturing industry. Africa can't simply allow that to happen.

Current exportation of the non-renewable resources serves only the building of manufacturing industries in the importing countries. We think the exportation should stop immediately, and instead the resources should be used within Africa to develop indigenous manufacturing sector. That is the only option available for Africa, that makes economic sense! _______________________________ © 2015 - 2019 Africauptodate. All Rights Reserved