Sept. 30, GNA - Mrs Kate Quartey-Papafio, Chairperson, Reroy Group has called
on African industrialists to add value to their produce to earn international
recognition and high foreign exchange.
She said without strong industries in Africa to add value to raw materials, foreign buyers will take delight in dictating and manipulating the prices of these materials to the disadvantage of Africa’s economies.
Mrs Quartey-Papafio, also an entrepreneur, made the call on Monday at an African Genius lecture series in Accra on the topic: “Has the Africa Industrialist failed to live up to the name?
She said value-added manufacturing, currently accounts for only a small proportion of Gross Domestic Product in most sub-Saharan African countries, where resources are often exported in raw form for further processing abroad.
She noted that some economists argue that Africa could become the world’s next manufacturing hub, as rising labour costs push producers out of Asia, and that, it behooves on African industrialists to take advantage of this opportunity.
The Entrepreneur said Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana produce 53 per cent of the world’s cocoa, but nothing echoes the value added expectations of these cocoa growing African countries.
“These shelves are stacked with chocolates imported from Switzerland and the UK, which are countries that do not grow cocoa, because not enough or desired value is added to the chocolates produced in these two heavy cocoa farming countries “she added.
She said the African industrialist is an African entrepreneur of great influence in a field of business, that attempts daily, and in a myriad of ways, to socio-economically drive the process of industrialization in Africa.
“Besides efficiently providing supportive infrastructure and services, the African industrialist maintains a conducive regulatory environment for entrepreneurial activity and the facilitation of the acquisition of new and appropriate technologies for the production of goods and services”.
She said the working-age population of Africa, which is currently 54 per cent of the continent, would rise to 62 per cent by 2050.
“The McKinsey Global Institute, reported in 2014, that to accelerate the pace of job creation, African industrialists needed to add as many as 72 million new wage-paying jobs by 2030 to raise the wage-earning share of the labor force to 36 per cent”.
Mrs Quartey-Papafio said African governments need to make public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the area of education attractive, to stimulate massive investments in infrastructure, which could have a multiplier effect on economic growth.
“Without education, the continent cannot adequately harness the potential it has and succeed in its drive towards industrialization. It is important for PPPs to be pursued in the area of education as industrialization would benefit from a skilled and competent workforce”.
She said clearly-defined rules and regulations in the legal and tax domains, contract transparency, sound communication, predictable policy and political environments, and currency and macroeconomic stability are essential to attract long-term investments in Africa.
“African industries require sustained energy supply, smooth transportation and transport networks and other very basic infrastructure facilities, which at present, are still not enough to ensure seamless operations”.