By JAMES MUYANWA –
INDUSTRIALISATION of Africa in the next decade should be owned and led by Africans with key support from the private sector as well as regional and multilateral organizations, a leading African investor has said.
Citing the need for a robust “digital infrastructure”, Sahara Group, executive director, Tonye Cole urged African leaders to commit to having a digital highway that connects the various nations.
“It will form the basis upon which everything else will thrive. It will unleash jobs for our teeming youths, deliver education to the uttermost corners of the continent, connect farmers and entrepreneurs to the world, deliver healthcare to remote locations and inspire electrification projects across borders.”
This is according to a statement made available to TIMES OF ZAMBIA by the Sahara Group.
Mr Cole who is also co-founder of the leading African energy conglomerate represented the private sector on a panel during a session on Africa at the recently concluded 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Themed: “Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA3, 2016-2025): From political commitments to actions on the ground,” the session sought to address, among others, the environmental, social and economic challenges as well as opportunities that the continent faces in its quest for sustainable development.
According to Mr Cole, a strategic digital revolution would also expose abuse and injustice, enhance law enforcement and justice, address inequality and transparency, build strong institutions and foster partnerships towards actualising sustainable development.
In 2016 the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)
proclaimed the decade 2016-2025 as IDDA3.
Mr Cole said the continent’s youthful population, agriculture and education as avenues that can be explored to foster development in Africa.
He said Sahara Group’s corporate responsibility interventions show that people empowerment is critical to achieving industrialisation.
“As we push for industrialisation, let us remember that the foundation for the most successful industry in any society is human capital,” he said.
Mr Cole concluded by remarking that the industrialisation of Africa in the next decade should be a global agenda.
The panel was moderated by CNN News anchor Zain Asher while speakers on the panel included President Edgar Lungu, Ethiopian Prime Minister
Hailemariam Desalegn and Botswana Vice-President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, among others.