Despite its high population growth as well as resources, Africa as a continent still recorded lowest numbers of the manufacturing sector output, something experts say is hampering growth.
Addressing such gaps, experts believe will help boost the sector that currently accounts for only 1.5 percent of the global manufacturing output but noted that this move needs concerted efforts.
“Improving Africa’s manufacturing capability requires a complex array of interventions by multiple stakeholders,” said Johan C. Aurik, Global Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney,USA.
Aurik who was speaking at the world Economic forum on Africa -WEF Africa216 in Kigali on Wednesday said that Africa needs to exploit its scale while increasing more efforts in energy sector.
The three day forum that kicked off on May 11 ran under the theme ‘Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation’ has attracted 1,200 delegates from 70 countries across the globe.
“This is a long process, but generating more value addition in agriculture and natural resources could have a significant effect on growth and employment,” he added.
Most certainly, Ally Angula, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Leap Holdings Namibia, says that the continent with its population of 1 billion people and well placed resources needs to move towards manufacturing its own products.
“Africans just need to believe they can manufacture goods themselves because the main opportunity lies in the production of goods for African consumers,” he said
But also, the need for more investment in the education sector to provide skilled labour to the industry sector has emphasized as one of the ways to bolster the sector.
“The labour pool is largely unskilled, which presents challenges for the industrialization of the continent,” said Geoffrey Qhena, Chief Executive Officer, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC).
Accordingly, most of the Africa’s strong economies still have low percentages of the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP which also shows the need for policy makers to re-strategise.
For example, Kenya has 12 percent, Nigeria 9 percent, Zambia 8 percent and Rwanda 7.6 percent compared to developed economies like China whose sector accounts for 30 percent.