“At present, Africa accounts for a very minimal percentage of the world’s GDP with a share in global manufactured exports close to zero. This weak integration in the global economy is a result of the failure of most countries in Africa to become competitive trading partners in a broader range of economic activities worldwide. The economic, political and social premise of Unleashed is that the situation can and should be turned around, and the author sets a roadmap through which this transformation can be achieved.
“The book sets out a clear matrix of choices that can enable African countries to fashion better trade strategies in order to benefit from the current unequal global trade system. The author presents a historical narrative leading to the current economic situation in Africa where many countries were lulled into a false sense of security believing that they are well off due to the presence of abundant natural resources. As discussed by the author, the time to recalibrate how Africa trades with the global community has never been this ripe. The clarion call urging stakeholders to approach and subscribe to equal approaches to trade matters and to do so with enthusiasm and tact can only be achieved if they are better informed and aware. Few texts present practical and visionary lessons to help cultivate, harness, and realize the benefits of adopting effective trade strategies in Africa like Unleashed.
“African countries have the potential to become major competitors with other parts of the world in economic growth and industrial transformation through radical improvements in trade dependency. International trade plays a major part in developing national economies and strategies to improve this cannot be overlooked any more. Unleashed offers fresh paradigms to reinvigorate Africa’s trade interactions with the world and presents pertinent strategies for having an improved manufacturing-base that will enable the continent to be more export oriented. The development imperatives and resource requirements for building a stronger export oriented economy needs great emphasis on cheap and quality labor, technology and infrastructure, power in order to create international competitiveness in prices of goods and costs of production. As presented in the book, the presence of abundant natural resources and a land mass in Africa can ensure that there are cost reductions in trade flows and thus increasing Africa’s competitiveness in global trade.
“The book carefully analyses economic models pursued by other countries, specifically Asian economic policies which took a deliberate pursuit of export oriented industrialization and trade by broadening their industrial structure in order to raise their competitiveness. In this era of cut throat competition, Africa should therefore review and solve the challenges impeding strategic trade policies. The author carefully discusses these, especially with regard to promoting project development opportunities which are inclined to profit making and higher return on investment, providing capital security mechanisms that will in turn encourage capital migration and most of all developing a conducive business, political and social environment that attracts and retains investment.
“Economic diversification holds great potential to increase Africa’s resilience and would contribute to achieving and sustaining long term economic growth and development in the continent. However, the expansion of activities in underdeveloped sectors like trade, or indeed the development of new activities, is a significant challenge and requires a combined effort by African governments, the private sector and the international community. Through his arguments in the book, the author demonstrates his commitment to help African economies reap the benefits of larger domestic markets through a focus on developing manufacturing industries. John Akhile appreciates that among the various factors which have the potential to drive economic diversification, a country’s natural resources are of critical importance. Many African countries are blessed with a diverse array of natural resources and Unleashed provides a blueprint through which additional value can be created from the resources mainly through focusing on developing export-oriented economies.
“The book also carefully points out the hindrances towards achieving the full potential of African economies particularly the suboptimal government management of resources and failure to maximize the gains from these resources to exploit other economic sectors. Their role in creating expanded markets for African products is particularly important for improved diversification in Africa, but this is complicated by market access issues and African capacity to take advantage of international business opportunities which the author urges concerned stakeholders to address.
“Whether in the government, private sector or academia, Unleashed offers invaluable insights on achieving Africa’s full economic potential. Progress has been made over the past few years, but a lot more needs to be done.”