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In recent years Africa has been making great strides in policy development and at present looks very prepared to move from principle into practice on this. Some leaders say now is the time to boost Africa's industrialisation efforts and that capacity building, which is critical to the continent's emergence, will play an essential role in this.
"Africa's economy is showing good signs and growth is taking root," says Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), which he says is the result of significant improvements to the macroeconomic environment in Africa, as well as more effective production of development policy.
Speaking during a series of meetings in Kigali, at which politicians and researchers discussed the future of Africa and best practices for achieving the continent’s economic transformation, Nnadozie continued his assessment on a positive note: "Africa now needs to move to the next important phase: industrialisation. This will require substantial capacity-building efforts. I am delighted to note that Africa has understood the importance of industrialisation to its development. In order to achieve this goal, we now need to strengthen our capacities."
Over the coming years, he said, Africa must undertake robust structural transformations. These will include the mechanisation of agriculture and, more importantly, mass industrialisation in order to create decent jobs for our young people. This industrialisation must be based on adding value to raw materials and building links between the primary sector and the rest of the economy.
"We must not seek to achieve added-value industrialisation through skills and institutions from outside Africa. Instead, we must strengthen the capacities of our own human and institutional resources," he said.
He also stressed the importance of improved leadership at all levels, the need for better institutions and the promotion of good governance. Substantial investment will also be required in two key areas: human capital and infrastructure. "This will ensure that new wealth is distributed fairly, in particular through the creation of an environment favourable to private-sector development," explained Nnadozie.
"I am optimistic that Africa will realise its full development potential and will become the key driver of global growth," he added.
To achieve these aims, he continued, Africa will need to focus on capacity building, and especially on the production, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of its development policies and strategies. It will also need to boost entrepreneurship and innovation capabilities to assist its industrialisation efforts.
The ACBF enjoys support from the AfDB. It is a key technical partner for African states and has been helping with capacity-building efforts across the continent for more than a decade. According to Nnadozie, the institution has "high hopes for Africa" and will continue working to support Africa’s economic transformation process, which he says could be achieved within the next 50 years.