Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday stressed the need for African economy to overtake Europe and Asian economy.
Fashola while addressing business executives at a breakfast session organized by Mail and Guardian Africa in Lagos, said the African economy have the potential but will require self determination and inspiration from its citizens to move ahead of other economies.
Fashola who spoke on the theme, ‘How African cities will be the biggest drivers of the rising Africa story,’ said that the great economies were developed by their citizens and not foreigners, saying “Africa must also take a cue from them.”
He lamented that the economy of Africa is not progressing as it should have been based on the potentials embodied in the continent.
“Our current situation may well be a humble beginning but if Africa really wishes to rise, we must ask ourselves what we have contributed to the growth that is taking place in our continent.
“How many cell phones, vehicles, household materials were made in African factories. What percentage of the African workforce is employed at the management level on many of the Africa infrastructural projects going on in Angola, Ethopia and others?,” the governor added.
He said we have a test at hand and “we can pass that test if we take concrete and well articulated steps to position ourselves to be very competitive and efficient.
“And the test is better passed at this moment when we have another scramble for Africa after the first in 1885-when the world came to the continent to get raw materials for their factories. But today, the new scramble is for the African market because the continent now has the needed population.
“As there is another scramble for Africa, all we failed to do at the first must be thoroughly done to avoid a repeat of what occurred 120 years ago, during the first scramble.
Fashola speaking on the solution said “First, we must invest in education sector because this sector has remained the surest way to develop a nation. Lagos understands this. And our approach is to include all players in the public and private sector in order to improve productivity in this key sector.
“Our short term plan is in science and technology, to produce youths who can do things with their hands rather than people who work with their minds. This will reduce unemployment.
‘The second is to embrace ICT. Even though we cannot lay claim to the major contribution to the development of the internet age, we stand able and must be willing to use ICT to bridge the huge gap of development between this continent and others.
“While the third is to reduce poverty; the impact of poverty stands in the way of Africa’s development. And part of the effort to reduce poverty by the state government is to provide the required infrastructure,” he added.