Nigeria’s former Finance minister and senior adviser of Lazard, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has stated that the diversification of an economy cannot take place within four years, noting that Africans are lazy in the way they talk about diversification.
While drawing lessons for African countries in an interview with Africa CEO forum, the Gavi board chair pointed out that it took Dubai over 30 years to attain true diversification.
According to her, “We need to look at the area of diversification. We ask ourselves, all the time, we talk about diversification, but I think we are a little bit lazy in the way we talk about it.
“Diversification cannot happen over four years. Look at Dubai; it took Dubai more than three decades. Now all of us are rushing there to go and do business, to go for medical checkup, to go and enjoy ourselves.
“They didn’t do this overnight, they began to think about it years ago, and it took them three decades. So African countries must get serious and say now, what are the logistics? What is the infrastructure?
“What do we need and how do we concretely start one sector at a time to diversify so that we can have an economy that is less dependent.”
Okonjo-Iweala harped on the need for African countries to go beyond talking specialising and improving on industrialization, stating that, “The next question is industrialisation and trade. How do we attract more manufacturing into our countries and also specialise in our trade. The trade among us is so little, anywhere from 12 to 16 percent, has not been growing much over the years.
“We are all producing the same thing, so quite apart from the logistical problems that confront trade, we have to ask ourselves, are we going to sell each other the same trade? The answer is no.
“Our trade will never grow as long as we don’t specialise among ourselves, and that means that some of us have to get into manufacturing, we have to industrialise more, so that we can send different goods to different countries. These are areas where we need to do deep thinking, not just talking,” she stated.
Source: Daily Post