Domestic financial institutions asked to lead in industrialization of Africa’s economy

Business_buildingDomestic financial institutions in Africa have been called upon to lead in the efforts to industrialize the continent.

According to Dr. Rene Kouassi, who was addressing journalists at a media workshop, industrializing the continent’s economy is expensive, and domestic financial institutions such as banks must lead in funding the move. “Industrialization is expensive…it needs domestic funding,” he said.

Dr Rene, who is the Director of  the Africa Union Commission’s Economic Affairs Division also indicated that political integration is what could facilitate Africa’s industrialization.

He added that however, foreign banks can also help in funding Africa’s industrialization.

Arguing that Africa can not be an agric continent for centuries, he said, “We must process our agriculture produce,” adding that the continent should also find market for the produced goods.

“Emerging African economies must link to industrializing…No region has emerged without industrializing,” he stated.

According to him, the world’s industrialized countries such as the United States and China have all had issues protecting the environment.

However, Dr Kouassi said Africa’s industrialization must conform to the environment.

These issues will be discussed as policy makers, central bank governors, finance ministers and economic experts in Africa meet in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, at the 2013 Joint Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to strategize on how to industrialize the continent’s emerging economy.

Organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) and hosted by the Ivorian government, the 6th Joint Annual Meetings is themed “Industrialization for an Emerging Africa”.

The meetings which officially begin March 21-26, started with a workshop for journalists. They were briefed on how deliberations are expected to go and possible outcomes of the meetings.

For instance, Africa recorded an average economic growth of 5% in 2012 but this growth, according to officials at the meeting, has not been satisfactory as there are still high rates of unemployment on the continent as a result of less jobs created.

The AU and the ECA are of the view that accelerating Africa’s industrialization agenda is one way through which the recent economic growth achievements could be sustained.

“Industrialization will also contribute to sustained wealth creation as Africa’s natural resources and other raw materials will be converted into value-added products for export to global markets,” the two institutions said in a document made available to the media.

They added that industrialization will help to build competitive economies that can productively be integrated into the global economy.

“Industrialization is therefore a pre-condition if Africa is to register accelerated development,” said the AU and the ECA.

The Conference has become the premier forum on the continent for African Ministers responsible for Finance, Planning and Economic Development as well a Governors of central banks to dialogue on issues pertinent to the development agenda of Africa.

A Committee of Experts is expected to meet starting today March 21-24 before the meetings of the Finance Ministers begins March 25-26.

By Ekow Quandzie in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

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