African governments must put sustainable security measures if the continent must attract investment, protect the existing investments and create sustainable decent jobs.
This call was made at the weekend by Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice President at the 2020 Africa industrialization Day (AID) commemoration activity and Webinars organized by Industriall Global Union coordinated in Lagos and Johannesburg in South Africa.
In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly, proclaimed 20 November “Africa Industrialization Day” (AID). Annually United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a specialized agency of the United Nations for economic and industrial development raises awareness on the need for industrial development in Africa. 2020 AID theme is “Inclusive and sustainable industrialization in the AfCFTA and COVID-19 era”.
In his commemoration remarks, Comrade Aremu who is also the Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union lamented that while Industry is the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for national economies and the foundation of good living standards, Africa is still exporting raw cottons, crude oil, mineral resources, gold and diamond only to be importing finished manufactured goods from China, Europe and America and in the process exporting jobs. He therefore called for appropriate industrial policies to re- industrialize Africa.
The frontline labour leader however observed that the increasing spate of insecurity on the continent caused by insurgencies, banditry and avoidable wars undermine investment and industrialization on the continent, citing the case of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the recent conflict in Ethiopia with Tigri region.
On Nigeria’s security challenge, Aremu noted that “ the activities of bandits all over the country are undermining farming cultivation, Agro-allied and industrial expansion. “Insecurity” he noted “will further make Nigerian industries uncompetitive with negative impacts on employment”. The labour leader also added that there can be no industrialization without electrification. He therefore urged all African governments “to massively invest in energy mix of hydro, solar and nuclear to drive Industrialization.”
Comrade Aremu said there is a nexus between industry and sustainable jobs. He said the underlining condition for the recent #ENDSARS protests and its violent fall out was “massive unacceptable” unemployment and underemployment .
According to him, “Sustainable mass jobs can only come from industry and manufacturing adding that Decent jobs , should not be an act of charity but as a necessary condition to promote productivity, transform Nigeria and Africa from underdevelopment, from dependence to sustainable development”. “ Africa’ he said “must copy China’s industrialization drive and diversification which within 20 years moved over 250 million people out of poverty through manufacturing and industrialization”.