Businessman and presidential aspirant Joseph Makamba Busha (pictured)says value addition should be the main component of business activities for African countries.
Africa has about 12% of the world’s oil reserves, 42% of its gold, 80%–90% of chromium and platinum group metals, and 60% of arable land in addition to vast timber resources.
However, most African economies still rely heavily on commodity production and exports, with minimal value addition and even fewer forward and backward linkages to other sectors of the economy.
Busha, who is the founder and CEO of JM Busha Investment Group, said adding value to local products will gear African countries towards industrial sectors with stronger economic links, sustainable growth and job creation potential.
“Africa must develop relevant implementable policies, systems, technologies for raw products beneficiation built on strong scientific research and development platforms,” said Busha in his book “My Thoughts – Africa’s future begins in our minds,” which was launched in Harare recently.
The entrepreneur added that beneficiation must not remain a ‘wish-talk’ policy matter but must become a tangible reality for Africa to achieve sustainable economic growth.
“Minerals beneficiation and agricultural value-chain products manufacturing are catalysts for technological development and scalable industrialisation. Only jobs, income and retirement pension security will end the desperation of many Africans risking their lives crossing dangerous seas into Europe for survival,” Busha said.
This comes as several experts agree that transforming Africa from a raw materials exporter to a producer of market-competitive value-added products will require the continent to integrate into regional and global value chains and promote horizontal and vertical diversification anchored in value addition, innovative approaches and local content development.
Busha, whose group of companies stride investment management, investment banking, life insurance, and financial advisory services among others, also called for use of land for socio-economic development.
“Africa is the second largest continent in land size after Asia and has the second largest population size of the seven world continents,” he said.
“Land is a non-depleting asset, and when optimally and sustainably used, it could provide a competitive economic advantage for Africa. A proper integrated land use strategy must be developed and implemented across the continent.
“This will not only eradicate poverty globally but could be a significant contributor to foreign currency earnings in the export markets. No one living in Africa should sleep and walk hungry or die of hunger.”
Busha, 56, has already launched his presidential bid in Zimbabwe through his FreeZim Congress and is expected to square off against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa in the 2023 elections.