Nigeria’s declining manufacturing sector needs a new growth strategy
Unbundling manufacturing in Nigeria.

Almost everything we use, from my laptop to the braided hair extension I constantly fiddled with as I wrote this story, went through some manufacturing process.

Industrial policy or industrialisation drives the economic activity concerned with processing raw materials and manufacturing goods in factories which helps economies achieve broader societal goals. This was especially true for one-time low-income countries such as Taiwan or China


Some takeaways:

  • A country's manufacturing sector can increase employment and contribute to economic growth, but Nigeria's manufacturing sector's growth has been tapering downwards in the last five years.

  • Governments help their manufacturing sectors grow through industrial policies. However, the objectives for Nigeria's 2014 industrial policy are still not met.

  • Nigeria should think of new ways to grow the manufacturing sector. One way is through market-creating innovations, which heavily involves the private sector but needs friendly government policies to thrive.

These East Asian countries succeeded in moving people out of informal subsistence farming into formal manufacturing jobs. The move improved their productivity, made the agriculture sector more efficient and raised government revenue.

Here is an excerpt from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017 - 2020: A revitalised manufacturing sector will create jobs, stimulate foreign exchange earnings and grow micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

No doubt, Nigeria needs an industry that can reduce its 33% unemployment rate. Roughly 210 million people work in China's manufacturing sector—more than Nigeria's entire population. Here at home, three subsidiaries of Dangote Industries Limited, one of Nigeria's major manufacturers, employ half of the country's manufacturing workforce.

But, the manufacturing sector's growth, which should augment other sectors' efforts to improve employment and create economic opportunities, has tapered off in recent years.

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Adesola Afolabi

Adesola Afolabi

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