Africa should boost investment in human and financial capital to accelerate its sustainable industrialization and economic growth, acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Antonio Pedro said.
Pedro made the remark at the 43th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Luanda, Angola.
Noting that human and financial capital were key drivers for sustainable industrialization, Pedro said much of Africa was off track to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) despite the region having endowments to rescue the SDGs and achieve Agenda 2063.
African countries should align their education systems with market and societal needs, he urged.
Equally, he said governments must invest in science, technology, and innovation to move away from the resource extractivism model that characterizes most of Africa’s mineral-rich countries and escalate value chains to avoid the middle-income trap.
According to him, the impact of the global shocks of conflict, climate, food, and energy crises as well as heightened tensions call for a strong African position within the global geopolitical economy.
“Business as usual will not deliver the SDGs and Agenda 2063 nor the future we want. We need a paradigm shift in our approach to accelerate the pace of industrialization, achieve an impactful structural transformation, and meet our goals.”
Pedro challenged African leaders to establish an ecosystem for transformational change and leadership that brings together the government, the private sector, and other stakeholders in quality dialogues and co-creation of home-grown solutions.
“The time we devote to creating an enabling environment for Foreign Direct Investment should equally be spared into creating an adequate environment for domestic investors, big and small, because the emergence of a strong and competitive small and medium-sized enterprise sector will create the jobs we need for the youth," said Pedro, calling for industrial policies to be at the center of development policies.
In addition, he stated African countries must move beyond aid and broaden finance to enhance productive capabilities by mobilizing more domestic resources through pension funds which are attracted to bankable projects.
Noting that carbon credit markets can support industrialization in Africa, the acting Executive Secretary of ECA said at 120 USD a ton of CO2 sequestrated, Africa can generate 82 billion USD a year, more than what the continent receives from Overseas Development Assistance.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency