By Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
AFRICAN leaders say the continent needs to unite and pursue the industrialisation agenda with a sense of urgency to improve the livelihoods of the citizenry.
African leaders including President Emmerson Mnangagwa met in Niger’s capital of Niamey this Friday for the African Union summit on industrialisation.
With the summit centred on industrialisation and the need to operationalise the African continental free trade area, the common message was on the need for a sense of urgency and clearly defining the road map to attaining the set objectives.
The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat says it is the responsibility of African countries to create the Africa they want by pursuing the industrialisation agenda with a common purpose.
“It requires unity for us to create the Africa we want. It is up to Africa to pursue economic development. It is up to us to have the political will,” he said.
Host President, His Excellency Mohamed Bazoum emphasised that industrialisation in Africa will only be successful if the continent implements the African continental free trade area.
“Industrialisation and trade go hand in hand. The industrialisation of Africa will only succeed if we implement the African free trade area. Knowing where we come from is important and we need to clearly define the kind of industrialisation we want,” he said.
The choice remains among the African leaders to ensure that they do industrialise as enunciated by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
“The most important tool we have to promote industrialisation is the African free trade area. No one can make it alone, we need to work together. Africa is endowed with resources which include minerals and vast tracts of fertile land.”
The African leaders believe it’s high time the continent uses these natural resources to boost their economies.