Industrial development is of critical importance for sustained and inclusive economic growth in African countries. Industry can enhance productivity, increase the capabilities of the workforce, and generate employment, by introducing new equipment and new techniques. Industrialization, with strong linkages to domestic economies, will help African countries achieve high growth rates, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks. This will substantially contribute to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.

Within the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1991-2000), the United Nations General Assembly, in 1989, proclaimed 20 November “Africa Industrialization Day” (A/RES/44/237). Since then, the United Nations System has held events on that day throughout the world to raise awareness about the importance of Africa’s industrialization and the challenges faced by the continent.

Please find detailed information about the side events, which will take place during the Africa Industrialization Week 2021 (20-24 November). All events will be held virtually. The Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, scheduled from 19 to the 24 of November 2021, has been postponed and will be convened in 2022.

Please find the text of Li Yong's statement here.

UNIDO Engagement

  • 22 November 2021 - Investment and Technology Promotion for Industrial Development in Africa under AfCFTA
  • 22 November 2021 - Road to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for Africa
  • 22 November 2021 - Win-Win pathways: Aligning climate action with Africa Industrialization and Economic Diversification
  • 23 November 2021 - Integrated Agro-industrial Parks and Corridors
  • 23 November 2021 - Book Launch "Industrialization in Sub-saharan Africa: Seizing Opportunities in Global Value Chains"
  • 24 November 2021 - Building resilient regional/continental value chains in Africa: From diagnostics to the planning of action
  • Theme: Investment and Technology Promotion for Industrial Development in Africa under AfCFTA

    When: 22 November 2021 at 10:00-11:30 a.m. (CET)

    Organizers: UNIDO, AUC, AfCFTA Secretariat, African Development Bank  (AfDB), Afreximbank

    Target audience: 

    Expected participants include representatives from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO),  AfDB, External Representation Office for Asia and private sectors from Japan and African countries; Diplomatic Corps, Representatives from Government/ line ministries; Chamber of Commerce; Private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, press and media, and anyone who is interested in development and industrialization in Africa.


    • The African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, scheduled from 19 to the 24 of November 2021, in Niamey, Niger, constitutes an unprecedented opportunity for the leaders of the African continent to reaffirm their determination towards an accelerated, sustainable and inclusive industrialization beyond the challenging context of the COVID – 19 pandemics.
    • It shall contribute to the implementation of the outcomes of the AU summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, including in facilitating, in cooperation with ITPO Japan that is UNIDO’s strong instrument and powerful engine of international industrial development cooperation with the private sector in Japan, to potential “Investment and Trade related initiatives and activities including under the AfCFTA”, subject of the side event organized by UNIDO.

    Expected outcomes: 

    • Have a comprehensive understanding of the role and potential support of JICA, JETRO, Japan Business Council for Africa, AfDB External Representation Office for Asia in promoting a suitable environment for promoting trade and investment.
    • Explore and discuss on the innovative ways of enhancing partnerships between Africa and Japan in order to facilitate trade and investment in Africa.
    • Create or strengthen channels of communication and networking between Japan and Africa.
    • Identified/enhanced business and investment opportunities under AfCFTA and challenges faced by private sectors clarified and presented.
    • Sensitization and wide recognition on the crucial role of promoting trade and investment for the operationalization of AfCFTA and its contribution to inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
    • Innovative ideas to enhance connectivity and creating partnerships between Africa and Japan presented.
    • A set of suggestions and recommendations for Africa and Japan partnership for AfCFTA’s successful contribution to industrial development.

    Please register here.

  • Theme: Road to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for Africa

    When: 22 November 2021 at 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (CET)

    Organizers: UNIDO, UNECA

    Target audience: Policy makers, leaders in the public and private sectors, development and funding partners, academia, business sector, innovation ecosystem stakeholders


    The discussions on the 4IR have strong complementarities with the implementation of the African Digital Transformation Strategy that was adopted most recent African Union Summit. The strategy is seen as a leapfrogging opportunity for the continent to fully adopt technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, block chain, drones, wearable technologies, 3D printing, Big Data, and software-enabled industrial platforms. However, in order for this vision to be successful - affordable, accessible and reliable infrastructure; conductive innovation ecosystem; and a digitally empowered workforce are essential. This side event will aim to bring together stakeholders to discuss approaches on the implementation of this strategy within a short-medium term horizon.

    UNIDO recognizes the importance of 4IR in promoting industrialization and economic diversification in Africa. To this end, UNIDO is in the process of developing an organization wide “4IR Strategic Framework” to scale up the technical co-operation, normative and convening capabilities in this new industrial paradigm. The implementation of this strategic framework will be to ensure that the “4IR Works for ALL” in our Member States. This strategic framework has a regional facet and therefore the discussions and outcomes from this side event will be used as inputs in the preparation and finalization of this strategic vision.

    Expected outcomes: 

    • High-level, multi-stakeholder dialogue on how to Africa doesn’t miss out on the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
    • Promote discussion and exchange of ideas on how Africa can implement the recently adopted African Digital Transformation Strategy to promote industrial and productive transformation.
    • The identification of 4IR priority actions areas from an African Facet to be reflected in the implementation of the UNIDO 4IR Strategic Framework. 

    Please register here

  • Theme: Win-Win pathways: Aligning climate action with Africa Industrialization and Economic Diversification

    When: 22 November 2021 at 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. (CET)

    Organizers: UNIDO, AfDB, REN21

    Target audience: Industrial policy experts and practitioners


    The global response to the climate crisis will shape the future of African industrialization and economic development. A new paradigm is required that matches the industrial and economic priorities of countries with sustainable and renewable policies, technologies and approaches that align with Agenda 2030, the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and the scientific findings of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The path from UNFCCC COP26 in Scotland to COP27 in Egypt will be marked by an acceleration of investment in solutions that favour low-carbon and resilient priorities. This session will critically examine the policy options and investment scenarios that will position actors, citizens, sectors, and countries to benefit from the medium- to long-term pathways that will drive Africa’s industrialization and economic diversification in a carbon-constrained world.

    Expected outcomes: Takeaways on pathways to align industrial policy goals with national climate action priorities (mitigation and adaptation).


    • Tareq Emtairah (Moderator)
    • Gareth Philipps, Manager, Climate and Environmental Finance, AfdB
    • Desta Mebratu Professor, Stellenbosch University
    • Rana Adib, Executive Director (REN 21)
    • Ngone Diop, Director ECA Sub Regional Office West Africa, UNECA   

    Please register here.

  • Theme: Integrated Agro-industrial Parks and Corridors

    When: 23 November 2021 at 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. (CET)

    Organizers: UNIDO and AfDB

    Target audience: Agro-industry and agricultural development practitioners  for all stakeholders


    The principal rationale for establishing an Agro Industrial Park (IAIP) is to provide a favourable business environment to develop the agro-industry sector and to add economic value in countries/regions that are heavily dependent on the production of unprocessed/semi-processed agricultural products. IAIP enables a shift from fragmented and supply-driven agricultural production to becoming organized, demand-led and quality-oriented by linking smallholder farmers with the demand side of the value chain; and provide required raw materials to agro-industries, which in turn will increase local value-addition, create additional jobs in rural areas, reduce irregular migration and improve the overall efficiency of the agricultural value chain. IAIPs also help to  minimize post-harvest losses, and increase availability of and access to infrastructure, strengthened services, enhanced innovation and R&D, and upskilling human capital services.

    Expected outcomes: 

    • Technical dialogue on the importance of IAIPs for agro-industrialization in Africa
    • Engagement technical experts in policy discussion on the potential contribution of IAIPs to rural job creation and rural development; and transformation of the agricultural system, import substitution, and export of value added products
    • Promote a multi-stakeholder platform for a harmonized approach for the development of IAIPs in Africa

    Please register here.

  • Theme: IDDA III Steering Committee Meeting

    When: 23 November 2021 at 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (CET)

    Organizer: World Bank


    Emerging trends such as functional and geographic fragmentation of production, adoption of advanced production technologies in manufacturing, and shifting globalization patterns have characterized the global economy. These developments have generated a lot of debate and speculation about the prospects of manufacturing as a potential driver of job creation, income growth and structural change in Sub-Saharan Africa. Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Seizing Opportunities in Global Value Chains reassesses the prospects of industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa through integration into global value chains and examines the role of policy in enhancing these prospects for successful industrial development. The main question is not if, but how Sub-Saharan African countries should pursue industrialization.

    Please register here.

  • Theme: Building resilient regional/continental value chains in Africa: From diagnostics to the planning of action

    When: 24 November 2021 at 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. (CET)

    Organizer: UNIDO, AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, AfCFTA Secretariat, UNECA, AfroChampions Initiative, Afreximbank

    Target audience: Policy makers at national, regional and continental level, leaders in the public and private sectors, development and funding partners, academia


    The development of regional value chains at a continental-scale within the frame of an African single market is key for the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In fact, one of AfCFTA objectives under Article 3 (paragraph [g]) is to “promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain (RVC) development, agricultural development and food security”.

    While boosting inter-Africa trade and making the continent a single market and a potential global trade hub, the AfCFTA has the potential to diversify risk and develop RVCs across borders and sub-regions. This should result in more value added to African products and in an increase of the continent’s share in global trade. However, this would require companies, and especially MSMEs, in Africa to integrate into RVCs, so that they access a pool of resources including, local supplies, new markets, trade, finance and know-how.

    In this context, proposals have been tabled to develop analytical works to evaluate the status of regional value chain development on the continent. Strong efforts are also made to develop RVC development programmes and investment plans for priority RVCs.

    Expected outcomes: 

    This event is set to discuss the status of RVC development in Africa, identify main challenges, highlight criteria for choosing priority value chains for development action, and discuss roles, responsibilities, and funding for concrete actions towards RVC development, paving the way for RVC development agenda on the African continent with increased value addition for enhanced trade, inclusive, sustainable industrialization and transformative development in the AfCFTA.

    Please register here.