Chinese experts on Wednesday called for African countries to utilize their competitive advantages to ensure successful industrialization.

The comments were made during the last day of the three-day Africa Economic Conference in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa during which Africa’s path towards economic transformation was discussed.

Xia Fang, Professor at University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, said learning from China’s experience African countries should focus on what they excel at in manufacturing sector.

“China started industrialization in the 1980s by tapping into its large trainable labor force producing partial inputs for products destined to western markets,” she said.

Xia said over time quality of local products increased, manufacturing efficiency increased, need for foreign inputs decreased and skills of local firms improved, all done by learning through practice.

She however said policy changes were also vital to a successful industrialization including favorable land policy for manufacturers and industries supporting legislation.

She urged African countries to utilize their affordable labor cost advantage and geographical proximity to the European Market to further power manufacturing ambitions.

Zhao Zhongxiu, Professor at University of International Business and Economics, Beijing on his part implored African countries not to give up industrialization drives at the first obstacle.

Zhao said China’s successful industrialization drive started in 1978, initially focusing in coastal cities and moving later on into the hinterlands.

However, the academic pointed out the industrialization drive hasn’t ended with China entering the digital economy era where internet based innovation and Artificial Intelligence are expected to dominate.

Drawing from his country’s history of industrialization, Zhao urged African countries to undertake painful reforms and institute long-term plans if they are to be successful manufacturing hubs.

“China has instituted Vision 2025, Vision 2035 and Vision 2049, which aims to transition China to a green development powered, innovation driven global manufacturing power,” he further said.

Xia said a consistent industrial policy formulation that is implemented up to grassroots level is needed if African countries’ manufacturing dreams are to be realized.

Nevertheless, Xia urged African countries not to directly copy China’s experiences, but to adapt to their specific domestic situations.

“The success of China ultimately lies in knowing what and how to do economic experimentation that fits local conditions while learning from other countries’ specific experiences,” she said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/



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