Four reasons why Nigeria, others must industrialise, by UNIDO

NIGERCEM factory site

NIGERCEM factory site

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has identified four reasons why Nigeria and other African nations must industrialise, even as it reiterated a departure from the “generalized” industrial policies that have proven to be ineffective over the last three decades.

According to UNIDO, the continent needs to build strong institutions and viable investment climates to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, generate jobs, transform their economies and alleviate poverty.

The agency expressed worry that while many African and LDCs have had some of the world’s fastest economic growth in the last decade and a half, the growth stemmed from high commodity prices, most of which had fallen, in a context of relative peace, political stability and macroeconomic reform.

It noted that high commodity prices have created incentives for more investment in extractive industries such as mining and hydrocarbon with limited linkages with the rest of the economy, and away from manufacturing and economic diversification, rendering Africa and many LDCs vulnerable to external shocks.

In its latest report tagged, ‘Industrialisation in Africa and Least Developed Countries’, UNIDO offered recommendations for national policy as well as regional and global collective actions to advance industrialisation and end poverty and hunger, adding that there is need for African governments to realise the full potential of public–private partnerships (PPPs) and the opportunities for collaboration among industry, governments and other stakeholders.

UNIDO noted that the fragmentation of the African market is very costly for all African countries.

“Industrial agglomerations and other growth benefits could be realized from development of transport, logistics and industrial corridors, and hub development around transport nodes and important urban centres. Preferential liberalization of service trade now features in many regional trading arrangements, and the LDC service waiver of the World Trade Organization (WTO) opens the possibility of making them more widely available on a non-reciprocal basis”, it added.

“Without industrialising, it is unlikely that Africa and Least Developing Countries (LDCs) can meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, particularly SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure.

“Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is associated with job creation, sustainable livelihoods, innovation, technology and skills development, food security and equitable growth—some of the key requirements for eliminating poverty by 2030.

“Rarely has a country evolved from poor to rich without sustained structural transformation from an agrarian or resource-based economy towards an industrial or service-based economy. This transformation is important to ensure wealth creation through increased economic integration and productivity.

“Millions of young people enter the labour market in Africa and LDCs every year. Industry, by providing decent jobs and by expanding the fiscal revenues needed for social investments, can boost capacity for the much-needed inclusive development”, UNIDO added.

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