July 13, 2023

Nigeria needs industrial revolution, says AfDB president Adesina

Youths’ future is in Nigeria, not in US, Europe - AfDB’s Akinwumi Adesina

AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on President Bola Tinubu’s administration to set the right pathway to prosperity for Nigeria.

The AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this while delivering a keynote at the Business Day Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Forum in Lagos.

According to NAN, the title of the keynote is: “The Day the Lion Roared! Making Nigeria a Global Industrial and Economic Giant”.

Adesina likened Nigeria’s case to that of Simba in The Lion King who after several challenges returned from exile to rule over his people as King after the death of his father.

”Nigeria, like the cub Simba, has great promise. But the promise is yet to be realised.

”The day that Nigeria wakes up and becomes a lion king, everything will change for its people; and everything will change for all of Africa.

“Nigeria should never be a poor country, and Nigerians are tired of being poor.

“For now, Nigeria is developing too slowly and well below its potential. The challenge is for the lion to roar. Then we will have the making of an economic giant.

“The key for that is for Nigeria to have an Industrial Revolution,” he said.

Adesina said the share of manufacturing in the GDP of Nigeria had hovered around seven per cent in the past decades.

According to him, the nation has not been able to extricate itself from the comatose of its industrial manufacturing sector to unleash the fullness of its potential.

“The performance of the manufacturing sector in the past five years has been poor. Between 2015-2017, the sector declined by -1.5per cent, -4.3per cent and -0.2per cent.

”This is in sharp contrast to the dynamic and rapid performance of manufacturing in Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, India, and China.

“The manufacturing sector of Nigeria represents only three per cent of the total revenue from exports but accounts for 50 per cent of imports in the country.

“Instead of being forward-looking in expanding the share of the manufactured goods in its total export revenue, Nigeria focuses on the model of import substitution,” Adesina said.

According to Adesina, the country has a manufacturing sector that cannot develop to compete globally, but limits itself to “survival mode”, not a “global manufacturing growth mode”.

He said a well-developed and policy-enabled manufacturing sector, with export orientation, will spur greater innovation, industrial policy for export market development and structural transformation of the economy.

He said rather than being consumed with conserving foreign exchange, the focus should shift to expanding foreign exchange through greater export value diversification.

Comparing Nigeria’s trade performance with Malaysia and Vietnam, Adesina said while Nigeria’s export hardly changed, Malaysia and Vietnam used aggressive horizontal and vertical industrial manufacturing diversification to move from low-value products to high-value market products.

“The result is seen in the comparative wealth of the three countries.

“While export value per capita is 7,100 dollars for Malaysia and 3,600 dollars for Vietnam, it is only 160 dollars for Nigeria.

“While Malaysia and Vietnam moved to global manufacturing growth, creating massive wealth and jobs for themselves.

“Nigeria remains in a ‘survival’ mode, still unable to substitute the imports of its petroleum products while being one of the largest exporters of crude oil,” he said.

African countries, including Nigeria, he said have had policies, templates and programs for industrialisation and expanding industrial manufacturing for decades, but there is a huge gap between policy ideas and actions.