Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that Africa needs an urgent economic transformation to be keep the development pace.
He made the in his speech as a special guest of honor at a virtual meeting on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
During the meeting held on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, on the petroleum industry in Africa in the era of AfCFTA, he said the “theme for today’s conversation “Towards the success of AfCTFA in the petroleum sector” brings together two of Africa’s paradoxes of growth centering on our natural resources and on how we trade or don’t trade enough among ourselves to accelerate our growth.
Africa, he said, has considerable mineral, oil and gas resources that can help accelerate growth if used strategically.
“Africa is home to 30% of the world’s mineral reserves. Broken down, Africa is responsible for the annual production of a. 9.6% of crude oil,
b. 80% of platinum,
c. 77% of cobalt,
d. 51% of manganese,
e. 46% of diamonds,
f. 39% of Chromium,
g. 22% of gold. “
“We also have 13% of the global population on a continent with 60% of the global arable land. With 60% of our population below 25 years of age, Africa is the most youthful continent and needs urgent economic transformation to sustain its people,” he added.
“We are at an economic crossroads. One that needs teamwork to achieve the transformation of our economies for the betterment and sustainability of our people. With all our natural and human resources endowment, we risk an economic catastrophe with many of our teeming youth unemployed and angry if we fail to harness them productively to accelerate growth. That is our first worry.”
“The second issue whether we can use trade to accelerate growth of the continent. We trade about 85% with the world and just 15% with ourselves. This is in sharp contrast with trade amongst the EU at 67%, Asia at 61% and 47% in the Americas,” according to him, adding that “This situation must change if we are truly committed to Africa’s economic transformation.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic and protectionist interventions by major suppliers to Africa is a wake-up call for African nations to co-operate more in building a self-sustaining continent. While national refineries may be commercially unsustainable in some cases, we should be co-operating in the development of regional assets including refineries and logistical assets, to achieve the economies of scale required for commercial viability. This drives productivity and puts our able youth to work, which in turn preserves and enriches their dignity.”
He explained that “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is set to become the largest Free Trade Area in the world with a market of 1.2 billion Africans. It is expected that Africa’s combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion will reach US$29 trillion by 2050 riding on the back of AfCFTA and an expansion in intra-Africa trade from its very low base of 15% to 52%.”
“AfCFTA provides industry with a perfect opportunity to contribute towards the realisation of a first world Africa. As continental multilateral policies are formed, success will always depend on the operational framework and the commitment of all actors.”