Naomi Gabriel —
Coordinator of the United Nations Development System in China, Mr Siddharth Chatterjee has stressed the need for adequate investment in infrastructure development to boost the market growth in Africa.
Chatterjee said this at a recent reception for new Ambassadors and their spouses organised by Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda.
“If you have to maintain your philosophy of growth, you have to invest in Africa now, because this is a population that will hit $2.5 billion by 2050, he said.
“It is going to be the biggest market of producers and consumers; it is the youngest continent in the world.
“The middle age of a African is 18, whereas the middle age of China is already 47, the middle age of Sweden is 49, you have to shape and nurture those markets now.
“To do that, you have to invest there, I think we have to get the UN involved, in terms of providing basic infrastructure. The UN has not been fully utilised in your respective countries, it is an untapped potential that you still have that lot of different agencies, programmed and social policy experts”.
He further said there was the need for focused group discussion on issues that bordered on development of the African continent for more forward thinking.
He said the African Development Bank had predicted that by 2030, agro-business in the continent would actually grow up to one trillion dollars
“The continent has 60 per cent of arrable land and then, we are currently net importers of 100 billion dollars worth of food yearly, he stated.
He said 40 or 50 per cent of agriculture products was post-harvested, “we have to look at the China-Africa bridge, to bring in the technology and innovation”, he said.
“The second area is in the place of health. “Actually, companies can make profit of these if we can achieve economy of scale and bring the cost down, heathy Africa means healthy market.
“This implies that there are enormous opportunities which are already starting to take place,” he added.
He said while Chinese prioritised artificial intelligence, digital printing technology and precarbonated housing, Africa could equally build its young population to start producing too.