Creating a pool of skilled people has been singled out as a requisite for Tanzania and other African countries to attain sustainable social, political and economic development.
The comment was given by former Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) chief Emmanuel ole Naiko in Dar es Salaam at the weekend at the launching of a book by the World Bank entitled, ‘Light Manufacturing in Africa”.
“I would like to emphasise that the most effective way of addressing our weaknesses is to do something about skills,” he said, adding that this should start by reviewing school curriculums.
He explained that reviewing school curriculums would prepare the people, especially the youth, to become entrepreneurs. Ole Naiko said there must be concerted efforts to establish small industries, create more jobs and produce competent labour force that meets global standards.
Citing an example, he said colleges run by the Vocational Education Training Authority (Veta) should specialise in training students on sectors that Tanzania needs the most and subjects which will make the country strong in terms of human resource.
“This will enable our people to develop downstream industries in their localities with the objective of producing semi-finished industrial goods which will be further processed in major cities,” he said.
Ole Naiko noted that the move will encourage young people to work in their home areas, instead of migrating into major towns and cities.
According to him, the same move will encourage big investors to invest in big industries located in major cities where they will further process semi-finished goods from rural areas and therefore export finished goods.
He commended the World Bank experts for the report which will be used to guide countries in the sub-Sahara Africa region in the process of transforming developing economies. “You have done a splendid work,” he said.
Ole Naiko said that statistics from the TIC shows that despite immense potential of light manufacturing industries, the number remains low and if anything, the sector is being overtaken by tourism.
“Something must be done to give the manufacturing sector more incentives to attract new to investments in this sector,” he said.
The country Director of the World Bank to Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi Philippe Dongier said although Tanzania’s economy has been growing at 7 per cent per year, unemployment was still a major problem.
“This report is valuable because it gives us a blueprint for developing this sector by identifying the binding constraints and designing effective policy solutions to address these constraints based on the experience of other developing countries,” he said.
According to the report, light manufacturing can offer a viable path for Tanzania and other sub-Saharan African countries as they transform their economies to create more productive jobs.
The report, which covers Ethiopia, China, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia, is the first research project based on World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin’s theory of New Structural Economics (NSE).
This theory argues that continual growth can only happen with structural changes. For Africa, continued strong performance will require transforming out of agriculture into areas such as light manufacturing.
“This light manufacturing study can be guide for transforming industrial structure and creating productive jobs, including in the leather, apparel, wood, metal and agribusiness sector in Tanzania,” said Lin.