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Business News of Sunday, 11 October 2015

Source: Emmanuel Amoquandoh

Industrialization yet to begin in Africa - Kate Quartey Papafio

Kate Quartey Papafio, CEO of Reroy Group Kate Quartey Papafio, CEO of Reroy Group

Recipient Of the first Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Genius Award is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Reroy Group, Kate Quartey Papafio, who at a recent event last week stated, “Looking at the resource we have around us as Africans, we have not started at all in industrialization.”

Speaking at the maiden African Genius Lecture Series in honour of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, she made the pronouncement that Africans must begin to expand their hopes in the untapped natural resources and make meaning strides in development.

Speaking on the theme, “Has the African Industrialist Failed to Live up to the Name?” she mentioned that the extent to which industrialization spurs development is not lost on Africa but then, the time has come for member countries of Africa to hold hands and partner to excel.

She added, “There has been a perpetual knocking at the door of the African industrialist to drive the socio-economic development of the continent by doing the needful and eschewing the needless as prescribed by international best practices and as evaluated by results.”

She considered industrialization simply as industrial development, and more specifically as the process by which a country or community, by its traditionally non-industrial sectors, transforms itself from a primarily agricultural society into one based on the manufacturing of goods and services for sustained industrial development, adding, “This makes an industrialist a leader and/or driver of the industrialization process.

She described the African industrialist is an African entrepreneur of great influence in a particular enterprise or field of business, who attempts daily, and in a myriad of ways, to socio-economically drive the process of industrialization in Africa.

“The African industrialist is the agenda setter for the continent’s overall economic vision and strategy”, she said and added that entrepreneurs are expected to collaborate the government to create jobs.

She indicated that there is a seeming notion that the problem of Africa is insufficient power or energy crisis, but the real problem is a lack of appreciation to the untapped resources at hand and also the brainpower to add value in through production.

Speaking in the context of Ghana, she stated, “We have free raw material at our disposal to the extent that their outcomes should result in opening taps to witness the flow of Cocoa Drinks.”

Touching on Africa’s low export to the other parts of the world, she said the inability to add value to the abundant raw materials is a major cause. She stressed that character, honesty and discipline will be the wheels by which power, the means by which the ways of doing things are facilitated will thrive and added, “If you know what you want and you produce it, you can call the shots.”

She said regarded as the backbone of economy, the African industrialist is expected to play a crucial role in the prosperity of the continent, playing the role as an employer, a producer, a trader, pattern development partner, creative value-addition expert and a selective regulatory policy manager.

She pointed out that by the nature and function of the role of the African industrialist in continental growth, “We are expected to clone experts after us, to ensure a naturally progressive going concern for our industries. We would employ, train, manage and challenge the next generation, to not only take up where we leave off, but blaze new trails for continental success.”

Referring to a study conducted, she said “The McKinsey Global Institute, reported in 2014, an expectation that, to accelerate the pace of job creation, African industrialists needed to add as many as 72 million new wage-paying jobs by 2030 to raise the wage-earning share of the labour force to 36%.

She indicated that the working-age population of Africa, which is currently 54% of the continent’s total, would climb to 62% by 2050. It is estimated that some 63% of the total labour force of Africa engages in some form of self-employment or “vulnerable” employment, such as subsistence farming or urban street hawking.

She added, “If Africa is to turn this around, it looks up to its industrialists to change the trends in the next decades.”

In Ghana, it is estimated that the public sector employs 6.3% of the working population, the private formal sector employs 7% while the private informal sector employs 86.1%. The percentage of employment to industry is 14% as of 2010, she indicated.

The work of the African industrialist is expected to contribute foreign exchange to the economies of Africa in any fiscal year. We are expected to produce goods and services through factories and production centres, either big and small, to earn, in name and currency, for our beloved nations. Our produce is expected to support our local economies as well as contribute to the forex earnings of our economies through export.

Ultimately, industries contribute greatly to the GDP of African economies. In Ghana, it is estimated that the contribution of industry to GDP is about 28.4% in 2014, up from 19.1% in 2010.

“We are expected to excel in the quality we produce to compete with our peers on the international market. We are called upon to team up with governments in pattern partnerships, which produce internationally competitive quality to deliver not only on the national front, but shine in the international business space”, she added.

She mentioned that while these partnerships produce first rate and excellent industries, auxiliary yields of these partnerships would include equally first rate and excellent infrastructure and public services that improve the lives of the people in these African countries.