Experts and stakeholders drawn from economics, corporate, public administration, management, leadership, and human development have urged African leaders to urgently reverse the self-inflicted pains that the continent has suffered over decades.
They made this call recently in Lagos ahead of the Third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) The AfCFTA Marketplace, taking place in the Arab Republic of Egypt from 9 to 15 November this year, organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexmbank) in collaboration with African Union Commission and AfCFTA Secretariat.
The stakeholders believe that Nigeria and Africa are the bottlenecks to their economic growth and development, and they expressed grave sadness that African countries are very rich in human and human resources, yet their populations are amongst the poorest in the world.
This is evident in the continent’s low contribution to global GDP and other Global indices.
Thus, they must be reminded that no other person or country will solve African problems, but Africans themselves.
according to these experts, the most viable solution is for Africans and their leaders to begin to support and patronize locally produced items, they require laws and sound policies designed to make it compulsory for everyone to patronize locally produced items, goods, and services, from the leaders and politicians to the locals; but the envisioned economic boom would be an elusive if the region still ignores its dilapidated infrastructure like power supply, bad roads network, logistics challenges among others.
“Misplaced priorities by economic and political leaders have dragged the region to the mud.
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This was as a result of choosing incompetent leaders. If we can look away from politics and focus more on human resources development, employ technocrats, and turn around our economies, we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other continents.
“We must stop foreign countries from grabbing our human resources and still make us a dumping ground for substandard products.
If we must deliberately and radically pay conscientious attention to our manufacturing sector, then consume what we produce and produce what we consume, only then shall we get out of this obvious economic dungeon” they affirmed.
The fair which aims to facilitate ease of movement of goods across Africa is expected to have over 1600 exhibitors, 35000 visitors, 75 exhibiting countries, and over $43bn in trade and investment deals with sectors like Manufacturing, automotive, health / Pharmaceuticals, tourism, construction, and infrastructure to be represented.
Others are the creative/ intellectual property industry, engineering, energy and power, mining, transport, ICT, Finance, Agro/ agriculture, diaspora, education, etcetera, with Business to Business and business to Government sessions, all are geared to ensure healthy collaboration and competition to achieve the objectives of African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.