Chairperson of the Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA), Mansur Ahmed, has argued that to achieve the lofty goal of Agenda 2063, African manufacturing must transform as the sector accounts for over 70 per cent of global trade and creates more than 30 per cent of service jobs.
Speaking at the re-launch of the association on the sidelines of the intra-African trade fair currently taking place in Cairo, Egypt, Ahmed said Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want,” sets the stage for the African Union’s economic development over five decades, from 2013 to 2063. He added that since the inception of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2021, they’ve embarked on the journey towards achieving the goals of Agenda 2063.
He added that the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), an initiative by the African Union Commission (AUC) and Afreximbank, represented the African market that AfCFTA aspires to build and despite facing numerous challenges, significant strides have been made to advance Agenda 2063.
“However, the road to “The Africa We Want” remains lengthy and arduous, with intra-African trade still below 18 per cent, and Africa’s global trade contribution at a mere four per cent. Many African economies struggle with underdevelopment, low productivity, and minimal value addition, leaving a large portion of the population in poverty. To change this narrative, transformation is required across every sector, but one sector stands out as critical for economic growth: manufacturing. Both the public and private sectors must make sustained efforts to successfully implement AFCFTA and attain Agenda 2063’s objectives and it’s essential for African manufacturers to engage actively in fostering the necessary collaborations and partnerships for sector integration, expansion, and diversification,” he said.
Adding that this is where PAMA must play a more prominent role in promoting the growth of the African manufacturing sector, he said this can be done by uniting private entrepreneurs to build confidence and ensure that most of the goods traded in Africa are made in Africa; invest in research and knowledge-sharing, which is vital in enhancing the capabilities of African manufacturers; advocate for policy improvements at regional and continental levels; monitoring new developments and staying informed on global manufacturing trends as well as facilitate new investments and partnerships to the sector to ensure expansion, modernisation and increased competitiveness.
Other ways he listed include engaging the African Business Council to protect manufacturers’ interests; collaborate with development partners that will contribute to initiatives aimed at enhancing and accelerating the growth of the manufacturing sector; actively engaging with academic and research communities to support research, training and the development of a skilled workforce that can drive the sector’s growth and innovation; organise and facilitate regional seminars, conferences and other events that promote the growth and development of the African manufacturing sector and finally, establish technology transfer and innovation hubs across the continent, which can serve as centers for research, development and promoting the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies.