Walvis Bay – Gauteng Premier David Makhura says African leaders have an obligation to add greater value to the continent’s natural resources to ensure meaningful beneficiation for the benefit of its people.
The premier, who was visiting capital-intensive projects in the Erongo Region, on Monday said Africa will only become an industrialised country through value addition, industrialisation, infrastructure development and by doing away with red tape.
Makhura, who visited Namport, Rössing, Walvis Bay Salt Holdings and fish processors said that he is impressed with Namibia, especially the Erongo Region that plays such a major role in the country’s industrialisation quest.
“Namibia is on the right path and there is a lot of synergy between Namibia and South Africa. However, it is essential to enhance trade not only between the two countries but also in Africa as a continent,” he said, adding that it is clear Namibia has lots of natural resources that need to be processed at home or in Africa to get the best value.
According to Makhura, South Africa is keen to improve inter-Africa trade and to contribute to the industrialisation of Namibia. He then explained that agro-processing is one sector where there is lots of synergy between Namibia and South Africa.
“Amazingly, we buy a lot of cattle from Namibia and the meat is processed in South Africa and sold back to Namibia and the world. The same also happens with fish. Namibia imports fish from South Africa and processes it and sells it back to us and the world. That is way we need to look at those basics when we talk business.
“We should be able to look at the broader picture, which is the process of adding value to our products, and at the same time look at the possibility of setting up manufacturing and processing plants. It is not enough to sell or export our raw materials, but we should be able to add value in our own countries,” he said.
The Gauteng premier stressed the importance of enhancing competitive advantages, such as increasing trade volumes, removing red tape and paying more attention to infrastructure development.
“This way Africa will rise in a more sustainable way. There is already a lot of trade between Walvis Bay and Johannesburg. The volume of trucks moving goods is massive. However, we need to pay more attention to infrastructure and remove red tape,” Makhura said.
“Africa can do so much more, but only if we commit to our own development will we become an industrialised continent and create more jobs for our people,” he said.