President Yoweri Museveni has urged African countries to start working towards exporting finished goods instead of raw materials.
Museveni said this while officiating the opening of the first China-African Economic and Trade Expo on Wednesday in China.
He said that China’s market share in Africa last year being at 17.2 per cent, is a wake-up call to all African nations to do more so that Africa can export more to China.
“It is intriguing to note that even though we have a nominal market share in China, the country remains a big market for Africa’s exports; absorbing 22.7 per cent, 18.6 per cent and 19.8 per cent in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. This implies that we are not producing enough as a continent compared to what just the Chinese market demands,” he said.
He added that any measures aimed at increasing Africa-China trade must be a matter of priority, to equally address questions such as production and productivity.
The Expo took place in Changsha, Hanana province based on a theme; “Win-Win Cooperation for Closer China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation” which Museveni asked both China and African countries to respect and work towards it if African countries are to address strategic bottlenecks which always hinder production.
“A developing and developed Africa is good for itself as well as its partners such as China. As the old Chinese saying goes; ‘If you give a man fish, he will have a single meal. If you teach him how to fish, he will eat fish all his life.’ Our Chinese friends who are more advanced than us need to continue working with us so that we learn how to fish and can thus eat fish all our life. This will be a true win-win partnership and will certainly be mutually beneficial,” Museveni noted.
Besides Expo activities, Museveni said that the China-Africa partnership must help African countries to overcome economic bottlenecks such as;
Transport infrastructure which helps in the movement of raw materials to production areas and conveying finished products to markets/consumption areas.
Energy: which he said that is the biggest enabler of industrial development as well as advanced agricultural production. “We are trying as Uganda in this area, with increased generation and transmission of electricity and the dividends are encouraging,” he added.
Cost of financing: which remains very high in most African countries and this inhibits private sector participation in the development initiatives on the continent.
“Lastly there is Human capital development: Human capital is perhaps one of the most important factors of production. Human beings can turn around anything provided they have the skills and knowledge,” he said.
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