Nigerian entrepreneur based in the UK, Mr Francis Agbeja, has called on African countries to reinforce their economies with deliberate smart trade policies and practices consistent with the continent’s development goals towards industrialisation.
Agbeja, the Director of Daffresh Freight Services Limited, gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja. According to him, spending on huge resources by Africa importing consumer goods from abroad can be drastically reduced if not completely solved by improving local.
He said most African countries were in trade relationship with China, the European Union, the United States and other overseas trade partners, leading to exportation of raw commodities and spending of vast sums of money on manufactured imports.
He observed that lack of competitiveness of African manufacturing and extent to which domestic value addition was left untapped were characterised by the region’s trade in some products.
“Nigeria offers a typical example of what has been happening to various sub-Saharan African nations that have concentrated on exporting raw commodities. “
“By favouring the export of raw materials over processing goods, sub-Saharan Africa denies itself the opportunity to add value through manufacturing, which would provide more jobs and generate additional revenue,” he said.
He affirmed that African countries could use trade to achieve industrial development and structural transformation by returning from traditional pattern of trading, which so far had meant exchanging raw commodities for manufactured goods.
He suggested that successful trade-induced industrialization should be interactive and coherent with a country’s national development strategy.
Africa has a large quantity of natural resources, including diamonds, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum and cocoa beans, woods and tropical fruits.