Nigeria and other African countries need to re-write the narrative of under-development in the continent which is perpetuated by acute de-industrialization to move the continent forward like other developed countries.
This is the view of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) at this year’s Africa’s Industrialization Day.
Ayuba Wabba, President, NLC and ITUC charged the continent to use the occasion of the commemoration of the 2021 Africa’s Industrialization day to change the begging bowl stereotype of the African continent by re-industrializing the cities, towns and villages.
Speaking on the theme, “Industrializing Africa: Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification”, Wabba said industrialization is at the heart of productivity, growth, jobs, and social inclusion.
According to him, poor industrialization results in low productivity, stunted economic growth, fewer jobs, and social chaos.
“So, it is important to pay serious attention to the matter of industrialization, productivity, economic growth, job creation and social development in Africa,” he stated.
He reasoned that the theme of this year’s Africa Industrialization Day – Industrializing Africa: Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification – could not have come at a better time.
“This is given the dislocation occasioned by the incidence of the COVID-19 plague. The pandemic has revealed the acute deficits of social protection cover as only 17.4% of Africans can boast of security cover.
“This challenge is symptomatic of poor industrialization and the consequent dearth of decent jobs in Africa,” he said.
He expressed that it is pertinent to point out that having missed the first, second and third industrial revolutions, African cannot afford to be left out of the fourth revolution.
He stated, “We must diligently implement the core provisions of the foregoing Development Plans with a focus on Industry 4.0 – a sub-set of the fourth industrial revolution that includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things, cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.
“There are a number of catch up before we can hop on the train of the fourth industrial revolution. We must prioritize our social sector. We must improve social services. We must increase budgetary allocation to education, health and social welfare services and with an eye on value for money.
“We must improve physical infrastructure. We must build roads, railways and inland waterways to connect our sub regions. We must resolve the chaos in our aviation sector. We must enhance the value additions to our primary modes of our economy. We must restore the culture of mutual respect, maintain the peace, foster stability and end the wars and violence on the mother continent.
Now is the time to industrialize Africa.”
The commemoration of Africa’s Industrialization Day is an offshoot of the 1989 United Nations General Assembly proclamation on Social Industrial Development Decade for Africa.