Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged African countries to leverage technology to drive the needed growth and development that are capable of enhancing the standard of living of her people by keying into the potentials of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

According to Sanwo-Olu, AfCFTA has the potential to be a veritable platform for the opening up of the industrial space in Africa, with available opportunities to promote free trade among component States. Hence, the charges Africa nations to synergise and tap into the potentials available for the continent to wake up the “sleeping giant” that is Africa.

“There is urgency in the need for Africa to industrialise and cease being a “dumping site” for industrial, commercial and consumer products from other countries. Industrialisation of Africa will serve a dual purpose of socioeconomic empowerment through job creation and wealth generation opportunities,” said Sanwo-Olu, at this year Africa Industrialisation Day/Young African Industrialists Week held in Lagos with the theme, “Industrialising Africa: Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation and Economic Diversification”.

The governor states that the annual event is a strategic platform provided by the resolution of the Assembly of Heads of States’ and Governments of the Africa Union, that will enable the state government to review its achievements and fine tune strategies and initiatives that will enhance the growth of the industrial sector with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as major drivers.

The governor therefore urged young entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the government through the relevant agencies. According to him, industrialisation is about adding value to the abundant primary products available greater and more rewarding returns through local consumption. “…enhanced revenue generation for the government for the sustainable development of our economy and provision of infrastructure and social services,” said Sanwo-Olu.

Lola Akande, the commissioner for commerce, industry and cooperatives, said the theme is a pointer to the fact that internal policies must evolve as catalysts for local industries to facilitate industrialisation and economic diversification. According to her, there is a need to work out strategies that would give Nigeria comparative advantages on the back of the AfCFTA, which Nigeria keyed into on 22nd July, 2019 in Niamey.

“It is expected that once AFCTA is fully implemented, it will create a single African market for goods and services, covering an estimated 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of USD2.5 trillion across 55 member states,” said Akande.

Speaking further on the ministry’s activities, Akande said plans are under way for the establishment of a Small Scale Industrial Estate at Gberigbe in Ikorodu as a means of providing additional workstations for small and medium scale industrialists to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. “The concept design and costing has been completed for further evaluation to ensure the timely commencement of the project,” she said.

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