Sunday, July 20, 2014

New economic report urges Africa to build credible institutions

African countries need to introduce credible industrial policies to effectively promote organizations with a view to enhance the structural transformation of the continent, says a new economic report jointly produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission. The report which was launched in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday this week, says that, “transforming Africa’s landscape has failed partly because countries used industrial blueprints characterized by lack of dynamism and high level coordination as well as inadequate consultations with stakeholders”. Until now, says the report, an examination in Africa’s failure at industrialization has ignored the policy processes and institutions governing industrial policy in Africa or the impact of their inherent weaknesses on industrialization. Presenting the report under the theme titled, “Dynamic industrial policy in Africa”  UNECA’s Senior Economic Affairs Andrew Mold said that, weak institutional structures and poor policy design have been at the root of Africa’s industrial policy problem throughout its post-independence history. The report the first to be launched in the country by UNECA this year,  talks about some key important sectors of development in Africa with realization that poor implementation of industrial policy is a major drawback of economic development of most African countries. The report incorporates several country case studies across Africa, Tanzania included with a view to assess the critical ingredients for spurring Africa’s industrialization, innovative institutions, effective processes and flexible mechanism. The report recommends that, top-level coordination of the industrial policy framework is required to deal with potential problems that could undermine the efficiency of industrial policy. The report further recommends that, there should be provision for dialogues between public sector and private stakeholders so as to allow governments and the industrial policy organizations to be adaptable to the changing needs of industry, the report counsels. Regarding the provision of modern infrastructure and logistic necessary for industrialization, the report wants governments with few resources to create ‘pockets of infrastructure’ focused on sectoral or clustering needs of industrial expansion. It further recommends industrial parks as one approach which provides high potential for growth and value addition as well as for solid linkage development and related spillovers among companies, suppliers and service providers. The report concludes that, to ensure that growth is both sustainable and beneficial to all strata of society in Africa, countries on the continent, including Tanzania, must adopt industrial policies that are germane to their own local contexts and set up strong institutions with the mandate of formulating and pushing through such policies.

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