Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has tasked the Nigerian government to return to the sustainable path of manufacturing production.
This according to the President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Industrialisation, Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka at the AfDB investors forum held in Abuja, Thursday, will be achievable through Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs)
SAPZs, an initiative of the AfDB, has a broad objectives to raise income, eliminate unemployment, especially youth joblessness, reduce food import bill to the barest minimum, and reduce prices of high-value food products.
Oyebanji opined that the logic of development shown by structural transformation is that countries that make progress usually move from basic agriculture to industry, including agro-industrial processing, and later, to services.
“Destiny beckons to us all to return to the sustainable path of manufacturing production.
“Currently, Nigeria trails in the supply of quality agro-processing products; the African region accounts for less than three per cent of global gross output, and less than 1 per cent of global manufacturing output. This is despite growing demand for higher-value processed agro-industry products. Nigeria must take advantage of the opportunities in this sector to create non-oil sector jobs and raise its GDP,” Adesina explained.
He stated that an end must be brought to the situation whereby Nigeria’s raw agricultural sector products are exported, processed elsewhere and bought back in different forms in the international market.
“With growing appetite for high-value foods, we cannot continue to import these products at higher prices,” he added.
While speaking further on SAPZs, Adesina said it has an aim of promoting private local and foreign investments in agribusiness, increase the contribution of the agriculture sector to GDP, foster wealth and employment creation, especially jobs for youth.
He further explained that this will be done by raising productivity of the following agro-industry sub-sectors: agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries production and through value addition to these materials by way of agro-industrial processing.
“We will bring basic infrastructure to rural areas link smallholder producers and SMEs in priority value chains. The SAPZs we believe will lead to a doubling or tripling of the GDP of rural areas in a way that bridges the Rural-Urban Divide”.