It is no longer news that the global economy is sick with some countries almost in a state of coma.
Since the dreaded 2008 – 2009 global economic crises hit the world, some countries have been unable to comfortably stand on their feet. Each adopt approaches of staying afloat in the turbulent world and leaders have also been voicing feelings on possible cross-cutting solutions. The old but wise adage that “you cannot put your eggs in one basket” has been in the spotlight.
President Paul Biya subscribed to the maxim when he told accredited diplomats to Cameroon in Yaounde last Friday that diversifying the global economy could constitute a shock therapy to the dangling performances countries have been witnessing of late. In his speech during the traditional New Year Wishes presentation by the Diplomatic Corps, Mr Biya regretted that economic growth was slowing down in some areas and stagnating in others.
In the face of the disturbing global economic trends, the President, like economic experts have done before, prayed for economy diversification as recourse. This entails grooming and harnessing other growth-induced sectors susceptible to making the economies more competitive and less vulnerable to global shocks.
Economies that have stood the test of time did not and do not rely on one sector irrespective of how booming it could be at a given time. A foresighted system rather maximizes all its potentials right from the primary, secondary to tertiary sectors. No economy can develop once it imports food to feed its citizens, for instance. This means agro-pastoral production in all forms must be given due consideration in any economy. And this must be in an industrial scale wherein production is in large quantities and local processing fully guaranteed.
It even becomes more profitable and sustainable when countries capitalize on what they can produce best and invest in research and development to optimize productivity, especially in an environment where all conditions are in place for win-win cross-border trade. Such a move creates jobs, generates wealth and ensures a country’s food-self sufficiency. A productive population in any other field is that which is well fed in quality and quantity! Anything short of this may breed chaos!
Developing other sectors like tourism, science and technology as well as improving the business climate could equally open the economy to wealth creators. A business-friendly environment is necessary to journey millions of small-holder businesses from the informal to the formal sectors, galvanise existing businesses to deepen their investments as well as attract fresh ones. All of these have significant implications on revenue generation for the State likewise win-win cooperation for both the investors and the population in terms of wealth and job creations.
Over reliance on one or two products or sectors have proven dangerous of late! Oil-dependent countries and others who relied largely on the export of raw materials for livelihoods have been crawling ever since the prices of these products slumped in the world market. While adverse effects like decline in production, persistence in unemployment and even loss of jobs, dwindling investments and inequalities continually haunt the concerned economies, the fear of upheavals even heightens as all these rear general discontent.
Even if the price of crude oil was to once again stabilize and even boom, the sustainability of the sector is in doubt looking at the green option so many countries are taking at moment. If only for the fast production of electricity-powered vehicles in a bid to reduce gas emissions, hugely oil-dependent countries would absolutely need to diversify their economies else they drink their oil when most, if not all, would have fully caught the vision of going green in every activity.