AfCFTA: Africa needs to develop local industrial capacities
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential of being the world’s largest market, industrialists including the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), have mentioned.
But, for the continent to make it a big dream realized, it has to begin, and quickly so, by building its local production architecture as well as build capacities of its human resource and logistical management.
In a discussion about the needs and how the AfCFTA would fare and be sustained to grow the continent’s economy in the face of global trade, Managing Director of LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, highlighted the importance and need to build and industrial capacities to serve the purpose for a development that targets at least 1.3 billion people across Africa.
“The most important thing for Africa to begin to do, at least this COVID-19 crisis has taught us that again, is to develop local production and industrial capacity. And that is what LADOL is all about.
“It is about developing locations, home-grown, in which high-value industrial activity can take place, in which we can manufacture everything from what we need in healthcare, to what we need to process our agricultural products, to what we need to build bridges, to build ships. So, we need to develop home-grown capacity for production at a very high level.
“I think that the African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to move the African continent to a similar trade trajectory as that enjoyed by the EU in the 50s, 60s and 70s,” the LADOL MD said.
A key action for the same purpose of sustainable approaches to driving success of the AfCFTA would be to invest in people, like Jadesimi mentioned, as a certainty by which countries developed their economies.
There have, however, been calls for sincerity of purpose as the continent, with its abundant raw materials, can build the market by Africans, making it possible to give economic benefit to the locals, than going to import from already industrialised and rich nations and bring such products to sell in Africa.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently encouraged Nigerian businesses to take opportunity of the AfCFTA to expand, in order to make Nigeria a hub for local and international companies that would serve the regional markets.