By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu – Prof. Osita Ogbu of University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC) has advocated establishment of industrial clusters in African countries to increase productivity and sustained economic growth in the continent.
Ogbu, who is the Director of Institute for Development Studies, UNEC, made he call at the ongoing two-day international conference in Enugu.
The theme of the conference is “Economics of Sustainable Growth in Africa’’ and was organised by the African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage).
Ogbu said that Africa policy makers should copy the industrial clusters modal of development adopted by China, adding that the modal saw China grow on about 10 per cent yearly for over 30 years and got the country and its people out of poverty.
According to him, since African countries cannot afford a massive and capital intensive modal of development, the industrial clusters modal will allow the countries to pursue development at their own financial capacity and pace.
He said that there was a need to increase productivity and create thousands of work places in the continent.
Ogbu, who was a former Presidential Adviser on Economic Matters during former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, said that the issue of unemployment, especially young and energetic population must be checked to tame other social projects.
“Simple economics has taught us that sustained increase in productivity will definitely lead to sustained economic growth over time in any country.
“So, we must create work places with renewed interest in engineering, invention and innovation in mind so that the products and services we produce or offer can have 21st century customers in mind,’’ he said.
The don, however, urged African political leaders to be more focussed in building human capital in various spheres of life, especially in engineering and technology.
“The political leaders in the continent must create development financial institutions to support companies and individuals engaged in entrepreneurship drive with low interest loans.
“These will increase productivity, create more jobs, check social unrest and gradually raise the income per capita of individuals which will lead to kicking out severe poverty among people of the continent notwithstanding where they live.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 150 scholars on economics from various institutions within and outside the country are attending the conference.
Fifty papers proffering solutions on poverty in Africa will be delivered and analysed by the scholars and recommendations made at the end of the conference.