DECADES OF REVENUE LOSSES IN AFRICA; WHO SAVES THE CONTINENT?
It is irrefutably true that the world depends on Africa’s resource reserves for almost everything. Unfortunately, this much dependency on the continent does not translate into development or boost the revenue base of Africa. This is partly because we trade our resources at raw value instead of transforming the continent into a hub for refined products to maximize revenue and promote development.
In an attempt to solve part of the problem, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote decided to build a multi-million oil refinery in Nigeria. If completed, the 650,000bpd facility will produce enough refined oil to meet domestic demands and provide a surplus for export. This bold venture by Dangote is long overdue because the continent houses nations that are lead producers in oil across the world but Africa loses a lot of revenue in the oil sector due to the non-existence or inefficiency of locally-owned oil refineries which results in the dependency on mass exportation of crude oil at relatively cheap prices.
This simply implies that a larger percentage of the continent’s oil revenue remains with foreign refineries who mostly signs parasitic trade agreements with our ever desperate leadership. This consistent loss of revenue is not only limited to the oil sector. It spreads across all other resources of the continent.
Jean-Noel Francois, the acting Director, department of trade and industry at the African Union Commission said at the second conference of African ministers responsible for mineral resources and development on December 12th, 2011 in Ethiopia that, even though Africa’s mineral resources are fueling growth and development in many industrialized and emerging economies of the world, Africa still remains poor, under-developed and dependent on donor assistance for national budget support. Statistics equally have it that, Africa produces 75% of all the cocoa in the world but the continent gets only 2% of the hundred billion dollars revenue from the chocolate industry.
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS DECADES OF REVENUE LOSSES AND CONSISTENT TRADE WITHOUT ANY REAL VALUE TO SHOW?
We need to create a favorable working environment and support our own people like Aliko Dangote and other interested sons and daughters of the land to invest in the continent by focusing on areas that will help add value to our raw materials to prevent the mass revenue losses we have suffered for so many years.