This was said by a consultant, Mr Emmanuel Ole Naiko during the launching of the World Bank book on "Light Manufacturing in Africa" in Dar es Salaam over the weekend. "I would like to emphasise that the most effective way of addressing our weaknesses is to do something about skills," he said, adding that this should start by reviewing school curricular.
He explained that reviewing school curricular will prepare people especially the youth to be entrepreneurs. Giving an example, he said the schools being operated by Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) in Tanzania should specialise on training students on sectors that Tanzania is strong.
"This will enable our people to develop industries in their localities with the objective of producing semi finished industrial goods which will be further processed in major cities," he said. He noted that this action will encourage young people to work in their home areas instead of migrating to the major towns.
According to Mr Ole Naiko, this will encourage big investors to invest in bigger industries and process the semi-finished goods from rural areas, add value and export to big markets. He commended the World Bank experts for the report which will be used to guide countries in sub-Sahara Africa in the process of transforming economies.
Mr Naiko said statistics from Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) show that despite immense potential of light manufacturing industry the numbers have been low and if anything the sector is being overtaken by tourism sector. "Something must be done to give the manufacturing sector more incentives," he said.
The country Director of the World Bank to Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, Mr Philippe Dongier said although Tanzania's economy has been growing at 7.0 per cent per year, job creation has been lagging. "This report is valuable because it gives us a blueprint for how to develop this sector by identifying constraints and designing effective policy solutions," said Mr Dongier.
According to the report, light manufacturing can offer a viable path for Tanzania and other Sub Saharan African countries as they transform their economies to create more productive jobs.
The report, which covers Ethiopia, China, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia, is the first research project based on World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin's theory of New Structural Economics (NSE).
This theory argues that continual growth can only happen with structural changes. For Africa, continued strong performance will require transforming out of agriculture into areas such as light manufacturing. "This light manufacturing study can be the guide for transforming industrial structure and creating productive jobs, including in the leather, apparel, wood, metal and agribusiness sector in Tanzania," said Lin.