Sincerely speaking, where is Africa Industrialization headed? Are we the laughing stock after the long struggle for independence and the now aching periodic times of the neocolonial rule.
Yes, of course, you better answer me that before I go nuts. Whereas, Africa is in dire need of a change, not only politically, but also, in terms of industrialization.
This picture of Africa Industrialization speaks volume regarding the African continent when it comes to its state of industrialization.
For instance, we will keep saying Africa holds the largest portion of the world’s natural resources. But, if these resources for all kind are not beneficiating the Africans, it doesn’t make sense to brag about it.
What is Industrialization?
According to Investopedia, industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to one based on the manufacturing of goods.
Individual manual labor is often replaced by mechanized mass production, and craftsmen are replaced by assembly lines. Characteristics of industrialization include;
- economic growth,
- more efficient division of labor,
- and the use of technological innovation
Especially, to solve problems as opposed to dependency on conditions outside human control.
In other words, Africa industrialization is a transformation away from an agricultural- or resource-based economy, toward an economy based on mass manufacturing.
It’s usually associated with increases in total income and living standards in a society.
Early industrialization occurred in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries, and later in other parts of the world.
All in all, numerous strategies for Africa industrialization have been pursued in different countries over time, with varying levels of success.
Why Africa has failed to Industrialize
At no point in recent history have calls for Africa to industrialize been stronger than they have been lately.
Across the continent, industrialization is arguably the most talked-about subject among policymakers.
So, why has action on the ground failed to move the needle on this important development marker?
1. A Mere Africa Industrialization Campaign
The industrialization has been a campaign promise across the African continent. With its acknowledged ability to bring prosperity, new jobs and better incomes for all.
Yet the continent is less industrialized today than it was four decades ago. In fact, the contribution of Africa’s manufacturing sector to the continent’s gross domestic product actually declined from 12% in 1980 to 11% in 2013.
And, where it has remained stagnant over the past few years, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The Economist Intelligence Unit, a British business research group, reckons that Africa accounted for more than 3% of global manufacturing output in the 1970s.
But, this percentage has since halved. It warns that Africa’s manufacturing industry is likely to remain small throughout the remainder of this decade.
2. Controlled Africa Industrialization Pricing
High commodity prices triggered by China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for natural resources have fueled rapid economic growth in Africa since the 1990s.
Many thought the boom would revive Africa’s waning manufacturing industry. Yet to the dismay of analysts, it failed to live up to expectations.
Instead of using the windfall to set up or stimulate manufacturing industries, African countries—with a few exceptions—wasted the money on non-productive expenditures.
Ghana and Zambia, for instance, used profits from the commodity bonanza to solve short-term domestic problems, such as by increasing salaries for civil servants.
Now falling commodity prices and a cooling Chinese economy have conspired to expose the myth of the “Africa Rising” storyline.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that growth in 2016 fell below 4%.
And, which The Economist, a UK-based publication, warned to lead “many to fret that a harmful old pattern of commodity-driven boom and bust in Africa is about to repeat itself.”
Why is Africa Industrialization a Must?
Industrialization is most commonly associated with the European Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
By the same token, industrialization also occurred in the United States between the 1880s and the Great Depression.
The onset of the Second World War also led to a great deal of industrialization, which resulted in the growth and development of large urban centers and suburbs.
In the case of Africa Industrialization, it is an outgrowth of capitalism, and its effects on society are still undetermined to some extent. However, it has resulted in a lower birthrate and a higher average income.
In the first place, many African nations in their current geographical size don’t have a full-service mineral. Not to mention, also, an energetic industry function from the extraction to the finished products.
After all, the majority of the economies of the African States are based on the export of raw materials.
Be that as it may, African nations can be more productive and sustainable through manufacturing and high-tech solution technologies.
But, the full-fledged Africa industrialization requires not only the necessity of low-cost production but also a serious industrialization masterplan designed by Africans for Africans.
Africa Industrialization Day by the UN
The 2018 Theme of Africa industrialization read and I quote: “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production.”
According to the United Nations Organization, the Africa industrialization, with strong linkages to domestic economies, will help African countries to achieve high growth rates.
In addition, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks. This will substantially contribute to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.
However, the success of general Africa industrialization program requires the creation of enabling the environment. Particularly, that enhances;
- domestic capacity in respect of physical and social infrastructure,
- human capital,
- financial systems,
- research and development (R&D),
- technology and governance.
Highlighting the opportunity to identify innovative, solution-driven actions and policies to advance pharmaceutical production on the continent.
Be that as it may, the 2018 Africa industrialization day focused on “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa.” With a pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization, and pharmaceutical production.”
All in all, in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).
Realization of Africa Industrialization Dream
As a matter of fact, the political push for the industrial modernization of Africa, or at the least the “biggest economies” ones will create an enormous demand.
Especially, for the manufacturing of all the mineral resources like bauxite, copper, coltan, cobalt, etc. With the main spearheading nationalities such as,
- South Africa,
- Cote d’Ivoire,
- DR Congo,
- You name them.
In that case, through finished products which require the African’s leadership to systematically intervene in the domestic markets. Of course, in order to benefit and facilitate the economic dominance of African-owned companies.
The Realm of Africa Indigenous Innovations
Each African nations with huge mineral deposits must construct Mineral Processing for Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ). This can be termed as “indigenous innovations”.
Innovation, entrepreneurship and healthy and constructive workforce are the key ingredients for a dynamic economic growth that African leadership has to set a guideline action.
African manufacturing and technological investments need to be interpreted as building blocks of a serious and achieving political program.
And, which will be entirely supported and guided by African regional and/or continental institutions for long term visions.
But, that won’t happen if the African States in solidarity doesn’t build infrastructure that connects all the warp and welt of the continent.
As an example, we need more railroad and highway inter-state systems. In that case, to help increase the intra-African trade.
Equally important, African States have to massively invest in specialized industry towns to boost their economies. Those specialized industrial towns can feature specific manufacturing sectors.
They will play active roles nurturing economic growth with the sound management of our natural resources to packaged/manufactured products.
The Industrial Revolution traces its roots to the late 18th century in Britain.
Prior to the proliferation of industrial manufacturing facilities, fabrication and processing were generally carried out by hand in people’s homes.
For instance, the steam engine was a key invention, as it allowed for many different types of machinery.
Growth of the metals and textiles industries allowed for the mass production of basic personal and commercial goods.
As manufacturing activities grew, transportation, finance, and communications industries expanded to support the new production capacities.
I hope the above article provides an exclusive eye-opener, especially towards Africa Industrialization on both the citizens and their governments.
But, if you’ll have additional contributions and inputs, please feel free to Contact Us.
Or even share them in the comments box below this post.
Below are more useful and related to the topic links.
- Why has Africa failed to industrialize?
- Understanding the Effects of Climate & Weather Change
- Demographics, urbanization, internal markets & digitization to boost industrialization
- CFTA – Continental Free Trade Area
- Fixing challenges of industrialization, a catalyst for Africa’s future in the next 15 years