Africa Must Learn from Korea’s Industrialisation Model, Says AfDB President

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By Bamidele Famoofo

President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has called on governments in Africa to emulate the Korean Industrialisation strategy to create jobs.

He made the call on Wednesday during the opening session of the Bank’s 53rd Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors in Busan, Korea.

Adesina revealed that Africa had witnessed de-industrialisation since 2012.

“Between 2012 and 2018, Africa’s industrial value-added declined $702 billion to $ 630 billion – a loss of $ 72 billion. Industrial value-added dropped sharply in countries with the largest industrial output: by 41% in Nigeria, 26% in South Africa, 64% in Egypt, and 67% in Algeria”, he said.

But he acknowledged that some countries were doing well. According to him, “Morocco’s industrial output expanded in the period by 16%, as it became the hub for global aeronautical companies. Ethiopia’s industrial value added grew five-fold, driven by its heavy investments in industrial parks, special economic zones, strategic partnerships with Chinese companies for its leather industry, and with global textile and garment companies”.

Adesina decried the deceleration of industrial output in Africa and massive youth unemployment. He said 11 million youth enter the labour market but only 3million of them get jobs. “To create more jobs – and I mean quality, well-paying jobs – Africa must fast-track industrialization,” he said.

He revealed that the African Development Bank plans to invest $35 billion over the next 10 years in its focus on industrialisation. This industrialisation strategy is designed to help Africa raise its industrial GDP a little over $700 billion today to over $1.72 trillion by 2030, making it possible for Africa’s GDP to rise above $5.6 trillion, while moving GDP per capita to over $3,350.

He said: “Africa is truly blessed. From vast and yet untapped agricultural lands that currently account for 65% of the arable land left in the world, to rich deposits of natural gas, oil, minerals and metals, the continent brims with natural resource potential. However Africa simply exports mainly raw unprocessed commodities. Little wonder that its economies are often subject to global commodity price volatilities”.