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Business News Fri, 20 Nov 1998

AFRICA NEEDS INTEGRATED INDUSTRIALIZATION APPROACH - PIANIM

By Joel Evans Owusu

Mr. Kwame Pianim, an economic consultant, has said Africa will eed to integrate its industrialization attempts in order to attract needed investments. He said Africa's five billion dollar share of foreign direct investment as against 26 billion dollars for South America and 42 billion dollars for China is the result of narrow national markets which makes investment in separated markets uneconomic.

Mr Pianim said regional cooperation will widen markets and make them attractive adding, Ghana for instance could expand its market in the sub-region from an 18 million consumer-population to 44 million through economic integration with Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso. "This will create a purchasing power of 22 billion dollars that far exceeds the present national strength of seven billion dollars," he said.

This market size, he said, is respectable enough to attract huge direct foreign investment. Mr. Pianim, was speaking on: "Poverty Alleviation through industrialization in Africa," at the celebration of the 9th anniversary of Africa industrialization Day in Accra today.

He said no serious sustainable poverty alleviation in any country can be achieved without accelerated and broad based growth since it is the instrument for resource generation. It is important therefore, that poverty alleviation programmes do not become substitutes for development efforts.

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Mr. Pianim said the choice for industrialization instead of agricultural development will eventually result in improving productivity in agriculture through injection of improved planting material, high yielding inputs and technology so as to produce the required industrial raw materials at competitive prices.

He said the export-led development strategy for Ghana's Vision 2020 for instance, is built on the critical role that industry is supposed to play in getting broad-based accelerated growth underway.

Mr Pianim said the African Growth Opportunity Act which seeks to open US markets to Africa goods, offers opportunity for industrialization as an instrument of poverty alleviation through igniting sustainable growth. The Act offers a 10-year duty free export from 1997 to 2006 for the textile and garment industry in West Africa, resulting in a 17% import price reduction.

He said proper annexation of this will be an important catalyst for investment, trade, economic growth, employment expansion, and poverty reduction.

In a message read on his behalf, Dr. Didier Opertti, President of the United Nations General Assembly, said the proclamation of Africa Industrialization Day was to raise public awareness and harness international support for Africa's industrial development.

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He said of 48 countries classified as least developed, 34 are in Africa.

He said recent economic revival in many African countries has sparked renewed optimism in the region's economic future.

Dr Didier said the celebration of the day reminds the international community of Africa's effort to lift itself out of poverty adding that this day should offer the international community an opportunity to renew its commitment to the region.

Today's seminar rounds up the series of lectures held as part of AGI's 40th aniversary celebrations. The final curtain will be drawn when at a dinner/dance to be held tonight.

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