UNEC, UN proposes ways of achieving economic growth in Africa

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The 2013 economic report on Africa (ERA) has proposed that African countries should boost commodity based industrialization if poverty was to be alleviated in the continent.


According to the new report, African countries have an opportunity to transform their economies through a commodity based industrialization policy that leverages on the continent’s abundant resources, current high commodity prices and changing organization of global production process.


The report, which is co-authored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union (UN), explains that such a policy was necessary for the continent to become a global economic power that can address the challenges of youth unemployment, poverty and gender disparities.


The report, whose theme is “making the most of Africa’s commodities: industrializing for growth, jobs, and economic transformation”, reveals that maximizing Africa’s commodities for industrialization can only be achieved by adding value to soft and hard commodities .


The report shows that although Africa boasts of about 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 40 percent of its gold, 80 percent of chromium and platinum group of metals, 60 percent of arable land and vast timber resources, value addition to these resources was still limited.


And speaking when she launched the report, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja said with Zambia’s rich natural resource base, commodity based industrialization can be the vehicle for unlocking the acceleration required to reach the country’s development goals.


Ms. Wignaraja said this commodity based industrialization can be linked with the agriculture sector for Zambia to reap maximum economic results.


She however cautioned that this was not an automatic link but one that requires a strategic plan and delivery that puts in place the right policies and institutional change which is backed by prioritization of investments that will make it happen.


She observed that many African countries have experienced remarkable growth since 2000 adding that this has however failed to reduce maternal and child health, quality secondary and tertiary education and decent jobs.


Ms. Wignaraja said it was for this reason that the report recommends ways of achieving economic growth that will translate into decent jobs, broad based income and wealth for African countries.