Governments urged to direct resources in manufacturing to create jobs and reduce poverty

Abuja, 25 March 2014 (ECA) - African countries need to channel their resources to activities in industry, manufacturing and modern services in order to create more employment and improve the welfare of vulnerable groups, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok, said today in Abuja.

The continent should focus on developing a manufacturing sector that is interlinked to other sectors of the economy and is capable of raising productivity,” Hamdok said today at the opening of a meeting of African finance, economy and development experts in the Nigerian capital.

“Both resource-rich and resource-poor African countries should also build capacities to invest in new non-commodity-based industries,” he said at the meeting which precedes the Seventh Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union joint annual meetings of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development which opens on March 27.

Hamdok said despite its rapid economic growth over the last decade, Africa continues to display glaring contradictions between economic and social indicators, as poverty remains pervasive while unemployment among women and the youth remains very high. In a bid to tackle the challenge, the focus of this year’s gathering is on industrialization for inclusive and transformative development of Africa.

For his part, Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission said most African economies have been performing well in terms of headline numbers without significant impact on the lives of the people.

“Africans are therefore calling for major structural transformation to sustain the current economic performance,” he said, stressing that the next critical level is industrialization as the means to “meaningfully join the global value and supply chains where opportunities and jobs are created.”

He also said that governments would have to develop institutions that can effectively implement industrialisation plans and strategies.

Present at the opening were representative of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr Anatole Yehoan Tohougbe, Chairperson of the Outgoing Bureau of the Committee of Experts, Mr Abraham Nwankwo, Director General of Debt Management Office, Federal Republic of Nigeria; African Ambassadors; Members of the Diplomatic Community; and Senior Officials from Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development as well as Central Banks.