Opening Speech Delivered by The Minister of Industry & Trade- Tanzania During The 20th IAABD Conference

Opening Speech Delivered by The Minister of Industry & Trade- Tanzania During The 20th IAABD Conference

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  • August 27, 2019
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Ramada Hotel, Dar Es Salaam

08TH MAY 2019,

Hon. Min. George Joseph Kakunda,

Minister of Industry & Trade- Tanzania (from 2018 to 2019)


First of all, let me thank the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), the host of the 20th IAABD conference, for giving me an honour and opportunity to officiate at this opening ceremony. It is my privilege to meet you distinguished scholars who together, aspire for the betterment of our African continent. I thank God for enabling us to meet in good health. I also take note that this activity is taking place when the UDBS is celebrating its 40th anniversary, while the IAABD is celebrating its 20th anniversary. I wish to congratulate you for sustaining your entities for all these years.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me also to say a word of appreciation about the composition and diversity of the conference’s participants. I am aware that this conference has attracted participants from all over the world, for the sole purpose of strategizing and deliberating upon the ways Africa’s development agenda and businesses in that regard, can be brought into actionable realities. I am informed participants have travelled from countries like Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and the host Tanzania. This shows how you are all intimately touched with the need for Africa to do well economically, socially and all other areas.

The theme of this year’s conference, “Towards Industrialized Africa: Opportunities and Challenges”, carries a strong message. This follows the fact that propelling Africa’s development agenda indeed requires a strong industrial base.


For many years since independence, most of our African economies have been producing and exporting non-processed agricultural products, which fetch very low returns in the global value chain. Due to this, Africa has persistently remained to be a loser in the global business, and hence poor. We invest so much effort but unfortunately we gain so little. There is an urgent need for Africa to rapidly diversify its economies and add value to everything that it produces. This is where the rationale of industrializing Africa rests.


Exporting raw materials only leads to vulnerabilities, since no nation or region has succeeded by simply exporting primary commodities. Isn’t it now the right time to do the needful to turn around the situation? I am challenging you brothers and sisters who are well vested with the conceptual and analytical tools of dealing with this phenomenon to come up with appropriate solutions to the challenges Africa is facing on this matter.

Most importantly, I urge you to touch base with policymakers and practitioners in your various countries so that they can equally be informed, inspired and well guided by your scholarly findings. That is how this gathering will add value to that process. I challenge you not to make such papers useful for journal publications and promotion purposes only. We need practical solutions for use by African policymakers and practitioners.


Ladies and Gentlemen, in line with what I have mentioned above, data from the African Development Bank reveal that Africa is at the bottom of the global value chain with its share of global manufacturing being at around only 1.9 percent. The situation is even worse in countries where a combination of structural constraints and political instability jeopardize efforts for private sector-led economic diversifications and transformations. Consequently, most countries have not created the jobs necessary to absorb the significant number of youth, compelling hundreds of thousands to migrate overseas. All these suggest that to unleash their full potentials, African countries must embark on a bold agenda driven by private sector-led investments in industrial transformation.


I was pleased to note that the theme of this year aims at exploring opportunities for appropriate solutions to such challenges. Moreover, discussions will also be centered on topics about:

  • Transferable lessons in development from other countries around the world,
  • Successful strategies used by global companies, and
  • Special sessions on topical issues like China-Africa relationships and transferable corporate experiences in emerging markets.

As one of the senior leaders in Africa, I find all the above to be pertinent areas through which you, distinguished academicians, can explore opportunities and avenues for advancing Africa’s industrialization, export performance and hence economic competitiveness. Nevertheless, I urge you to always remember that despite the availability of international support from development partners and any other well-wishers, Africa’s development entirely depends on you, sons and daughters of Africa. In that regard, use your intellectual excellences to do justice to your continent!


May I take this opportunity to welcome international participants to our beautiful country, Tanzania. Karibuni Sana!


You are all aware that in the global environment we now live in, pays for us to forge linkages and take a global view even when we act locally.


I also remind you that Tanzania is well endowed with various sorts of tourist attractions. After finishing your intensive academic deliberations, consider visiting some of the famous sites this great country has. These include the city of Dar es Salaam itself (the haven of peace), Bagamoyo, the beautiful islands of Zanzibar, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro, just to mention a few. I am sure, such tours will provide you memorable moments to share with your families back home.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having said the above, may I now declare that the 20th Annual Conference of the International Academy of African Business and Development (IAABD) is officially open.

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