Vienna, 20 November 2007 – The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 20 November as Africa Industrialization Day. The yearly celebration is meant to create global awareness and mobilize the commitment of the international community for Africa’s industrialization efforts, and to assess the progress made in this direction; it brings together African leaders, the continent’s private sector, civil society and the UN system. It also serves as a reminder of the huge challenge the continent faces, given that more than 34 of the world's 50 least developed countries are in Africa.
This year’s theme "Technology and Innovation for Industry: Investing in people is investing in the Future", emphasizes the crucial role of technology and innovation for poverty alleviation through sustainable industrial development. Around 60 per cent of industrial assets are generated by industrial innovation systems. Technology and innovation are the key to unlock Africa’s development potential and competitiveness.
In 2005, Africa’s population was 877 million, and is likely to reach 1.5 billion by 2030. Given this and its rapid urbanization, the continent cannot afford to remain a primary commodity producer; it should develop a strong culture of science technology and innovation, adopted and integrated through manufacturing.
Policy initiatives towards strengthening national industrial innovation systems call for the creation of a large pool of scientists and an enabling environment, in institutions and enterprises. Using modern technology and commercializing new knowledge is also vital for an effective innovation system.
On the occasion of the Africa Industrialization Day 2007, statements will be delivered today at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) headquarters in Vienna, on behalf of the Executive Heads of the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and UNIDO, as well as of the United Nations Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly. Celebrations will also take place all over Africa and in UNIDO’s offices in New York, Geneva and Brussels.
For more information on Africa Industrialization Day, please contact:
Director, Africa Programme, UNIDO
Tel.: +43 1 26026 3060
For more information on UNIDO, please contact:
UNIDO Information Officer
Tel.: +43 1 26026 3034