A former national economic adviser in the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and now director, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Professor Osita Ogbu has said that productivity is the basis for sustainable economic growth.
Speaking at the 2018 International Conference hosted by the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), Enugu, at the weekend, tagged: Economics of Sustainable Growth in Africa, Ogbu said the economy should be designed in a way that wealth is adequately distributed and not concentrated.
According to him, one sure way of doing so is by ensuring massive development of the industrial sector and technological acquisition.
“Africa must introduce industrial parks. Banks should concentrate resources on few important sectors with bias towards the productivity sector. Africa needs intelligent leadership that understands sustainable growth,” Ogbu disclosed, citing China which has left a certain space at the low end manufacturing which Africans can adopt and occupy.
“Since we have few venture capitalists, government should step into this space and invest in profitable ventures,” Ogbu added.
In his contribution, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Icheoku, of the department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, posited that redistribution and inclusive economic growth can catalyze sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.
According to him, a means to achieving inclusive economic growth is by providing good and productive employment and decent work for everyone. He however, advised African countries to focus on labour intensive industrial growth in order to create jobs and opportunities to carry everyone along in their “So, labour intensive modal of sustainable development should be adopted so that no one is left behind in the growth of any African country”.
“Leaders in Africa must get their people out of poverty by looking into agriculture and cottage industries, which can be easily financed by these countries going with their relatively financial incapability”, he concluded.
Earlier in his opening speech, the executive director of AfriHeritage, Professor Ufo Okeke-Uzodike noted that African economists needed to come up with ideas that will uplift economies across the continent, and help to effect transformative change that can move the region away from extreme poverty. According to him, despite significant improvements in policy spaces across the region, Africa continues to experience serious challenges due to highly uneven economic growth patterns. “So, in Nigeria and around our continent, the quest for sustainable economic growth is a driver of government concerns and policy”.
“However, despite significant improvements in policy spaces across the region, Africa continues to experience serious challenges due to highly uneven economic growth patterns”.
“This challenge is made less tenable by inadequate growth rates for the world’s poorest region, youngest region, and demographically fastest growing region”, he says
He noted that even beyond Africa, the issue of Sustainable Growth is central to the trade wars between some countries such as the United States and Germany (European Union), the United States and China. To this end, he charged the participants to use the opportunity of the Conference and deliberations to contribute ideas that will yield policy recommendations for policymakers. “I wish us all robust engagements across the sessions and lots of ideas on how to fuel our economies across the continent, to grow at the double digit levels that we need to effect transformative change and move our region away from extreme poverty”.