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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

UNIDO to work close with Ecobank on promoting economic growth in Africa

ABUJA, 10 March 2010 - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), a leading pan-African banking group, will work together to promote economic growth in Africa through sustainable and industrial development.

A Memorandum of Understanding on this was signed in the Nigerian capital today between UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Chief Executive of the Ecobank Group, Arnold O. Ekpe.

Recognizing the significant contribution the private sector can make to its strategic objectives, UNIDO has been actively promoting cooperation arrangements with private sector stakeholders.

Ecobank operates in thirty countries across West, Central, East and Southern Africa.

UNIDO and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated plan to focus, among others, on agribusiness and agro-industry, including food, leather, textiles, wood, agro-machinery; on renewable energy, including bio-energy initiatives, on hydro power projects, and other environmentally sustainable projects; as well as on clean technologies.

They will also support technical assistance to ensure economic growth and development of the private sector and small and medium enterprises, including those that benefit women and youth entrepreneurship.

The new partnership will explore the possibility for establishing industrial, technology, and agro-industrial parks or zones as vehicles for technology transfer and industrial development, as well as possibilities for channeling African Diaspora remittances into investment in industrial development and entrepreneurial activities.

UNIDO and Ecobank also agreed to look at setting up a Fund and teaming up to mobilize capital from both public and private sectors to invest in agri-business and small and medium business development in Africa and support different projects in the field. UNIDO would provide technical assistance, while Ecobank would provide financial services for the implementation of such projects to ensure economic growth and development of the private sector and small and medium enterprises, including those that benefit women and youth entrepreneurship.

They will also discuss potential joint projects and activities in the area of technology and knowledge transfer, trade and investment promotion within the UNIDO South-South cooperation framework.

Director-General Yumkella is in Abuja for a high-level conference hosted by the Government of Nigeria that is discussing ways to boost the development of agribusiness and agro-industries in Africa.

For more information, please contact:  communications@unido.org

Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Press Officer
Tel. +43-699-1459-7329
E-mail M.Evstafyev@unido.org 
communications@unido.org