How Africa 's Natural Resources Drive the Industrial Revolution
In recent years, Africa's economic development has been remarkable. And the global recession in stark contrast.
Five years after the collapse of the global financial order, the outlook for the world economy remains uncertain. In Europe, GDP is still below pre-crisis levels, and unemployment remains at the highest point. The United States' economic recovery, despite its strength, has been weak for historical reasons and has even slowed growth in China, which has made a significant contribution to global economic growth.
However, some people unexpectedly is the African economy, in the past 10 years the average economic growth rate remained at 5%. Seven of the world's ten fastest-growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa. But how does this growth continue? How can we ensure that we continue along this high-speed track?
The main reason for Africa's sustained economic growth is the world's need for its abundant natural resources, at least so far. It is also this demand for Africa's economic success provides opportunities and ways.
Although not all African countries are rich, but the continent has 12% of the world's oil reserves, 40% of gold reserves, chromium and platinum 80% to 90%. Africa also has 60% of the world's undeveloped arable land and huge timber resources.
The view that abundant natural resources can become the continent's driving force of the industrial revolution more and more. The recent edition of the African Economic Report (2013 edition) argues that the future of the African economy will depend on the formulation and implementation of policies that promote resource-based industrialization.
We believe that such a change is necessary and possible. But it requires courage, vision and a new mindset on the continent's entrepreneurs and political leaders to overcome the factors that discourage the establishment of a successful and vibrant industrial base in Africa.
Accelerating the process of resource-based industrialization is not a cure-all. Experience could be gained from promoting successful countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Venezuela to promote added value, provide new services and innovate in technology.
Especially Malaysia, is a model sample of the transformation from the original commodity economy, which in just a few decades, through the emphasis on national innovation capacity and guide resources to high value-added, diversified industrial sector transfer, to achieve economic restructuring. Through a series of five-year plans, to focus on economic restructuring, to raise revenue as a long-term goal, to guide the capital into the industrial sector. Malaysia is now an important producer and exporter of many products and services.
Obviously, the government is an important role, both individually and collectively. A supportive policy and investment advice is an important factor in attracting long-term investors. It is also important to develop policies that promote local productivity and prevent unfairness. More importantly, through training and guidance to improve the skills of workers to ensure that local economic growth and diversification.
However, one of the few factors that have been cited as a hindrance to Africa's industrialization process is the notion of private sector leaders, both within and outside Africa. Many still retain old rent-seeking ideas, leading to short-term behavior aimed at obtaining crude oil, cocoa and gold.
Most business leaders need to change their minds and understand that short-term gains, rather than long-term economic value added, will not be conducive to sustained economic growth.
We are now looking forward to the emergence of a new type of African economic leader who will build, invest and expand for Africa's future. Only their efforts can provide employment, increase incomes, and thus have the greatest impact on changing poverty and advancing broader social progress.
Entrepreneurs in Africa must play a leading role in promoting cooperation among farmers, growers, processors and exporters. Competition in the value chain is becoming increasingly fierce, and prices, quality and standards must be matched to the needs of the market.
We want to see national and even regional leaders emerge, gain support, and help to thrive in effective cooperation between the public and private sectors and regional development. This is the so-called emerging African economic capitalism (Africapitalism), that is, led by the private sector is a focus on African development partnership model.
We have seen the real progress of this continent. Ethiopia's leather industry is not only developing rapidly, but also increases the production of high value-added products. South Africa and Egypt are also following the same path. The cocoa production and mining industries in Ghana and Zambia have long-term contributions to a wide range of social progress. In East Africa, Kenya, the success of the fresh vegetable sector was attributed to the added value of export products.
But when many Africans only complain that they have only 10 percent of their income from their own coffee companies, we know there is still a long way to go.
Africa now has this golden opportunity to shape its embryonic form of the future economy through industrialization. This will contribute to the overall prosperity of this continent. An industrialized Africa will also become a new engine for global economic growth. Africa's success is beneficial to all.
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