The Secretary-General of the African Iron and Steel Association (AISA), Dr Muhammad Sanusi, on Thursday told Africa leaders to encourage the development of the iron and steel sector to industrialise the continent.
Sanusi, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that no nation or continent could industrialise without having an iron and steel base.
He said that even the so-called developed nations had well-established iron and steel industries before they became what they were.
“China came out from nowhere; today China is the largest economy in the world. Why? This is because she had established a very serious foundation on iron and steel.
“Today, China is the largest producer of steel, the largest consumer of iron and steel. 20 years ago, China was nowhere to be found.
“Today, India, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, with their riches and oil revenue, gave priority attention to the development of iron and steel industries and they are still doing so.
He said that Africa leaders should be serious to industrialise the continent and also be in a position to help their industries to produce spare parts needed in the continent.
The secretary said that there was no Africa country that did not have large quantities of raw materials required to set up iron and steel industries.
“In almost every African country, there are one or two materials useful for the production of iron and steel.’’
Sanusi said that Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Mali, Angola, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Mauritania, all AISA members had iron and steel raw materials.
“Sudan is a non-member but it has some facilities. Besides, Niger Republic certainly is one of the largest producers of uranium and Nigeria has coal.
“You can see, almost every African country has one raw material or the other. Some of them have several raw materials for iron and steel production.’’
“Africa is blessed with many resources but we are not coordinating our utilisation well. And for us to have real development, we must aim at industrialisation.
“If Africa is serious about plans to industrialise, our leaders must give priority attention to iron and steel development,’’ he added.
Sanusi said that the association had done so much to encourage inter-regional cooperation in the continent but that due to a lack of political will by Africa leaders none could work.
He said that electricity generation was critical to the development and contribution of GDP in Nigerian industries, adding that necessary machinery should be put in place for the maintenance of power facilities.
“If there is good industrialisation, our agriculture, electricity, water, education, health will be booming and all our economic activities will lift up.
“Industrialisation itself is a great employer of labour and agriculture is another employer of labour. (NAN)