New York, 21 November 2019 – On the occasion of the 30th celebration of Africa Industrialization Day 2019, the African Union (AU), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) jointly hosted an event at the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations under the theme: “Positioning African Industry to Supply the AfCFTA Market.”
The event gathered Permanent Representatives from African States in a discussion panel session on the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s industrialization and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA). The AfCTA aims to progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-African trade, making it easier for African businesses to trade within the continent and to cater to and benefit from the growing African market.
In the opening session, Claudia Linke-Heep, officer-in-charge of UNIDO’s New York Office, emphasized the importance of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) and the vision it provides for placing Africa on a path towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
In a joint statement on behalf of the AU Commission, UNIDO and UNECA, Her Excellency, Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN, stated: “With free trade dawning on 1st July 2020, the need to reposition industrial production to enhance the supply response to the enlarged pan-African market requires prioritization in the programming frame, at member state, regional and continental levels. With the AfCFTA ushering in a huge regional market potential to the tune of close to US$3 trillion, and a consumer base of 1.27 billion, the CFTA is a timely and adequate initiative to augment Africa’s collective response to withstand global competitive pressures for efficiency gains.”
H.E. Moncef Baati, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN and Chair of the African Group, echoed the need for repositioning Africa’s industrial production by promoting economic diversification and strengthening regional value chains to help upgrade manufactured goods in the export market. Moreover, he called for effective policies backed by a strong industrialization vision that is responsive to private sector needs and for successful mobilization of financial and non-financial resources for full economic transformation of the continent.
Amr Nour, Director of Regional Commissions Office New York, moderated a panel on ‘Unpacking the AfCFTA: Opportunities and Factors of Success to Catalyze Industrialization on the Continent’. Panellists included H.E. Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN, H.E. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN, H.E. Nkopane Raseeng Monyane, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the UN, and Omar Kadiri, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN.
The speakers engaged in lively discussion and showcased their own countries’ achievements in unlocking trade and manufacturing potential to further enhance the competitiveness of their industries and participate in regional industrial innovation systems. In this context, the opportunity for women and youth to build skills adapted to the needs for goods and services of the Fourth Industrial Revolution was highlighted, as well as the need to ensure requisite infrastructure, human capital development, economic diversification to ensure competitiveness, and the elimination of barriers – both physical and political in order to facilitate logistical connectivity to reduce cost of goods and services within the continent. The discussion ended with a call for more “Made in Africa” and the wish to portray the innovative solutions of African industry at the global level.
For further information, contact:
Claudia Linke-Heep, UNIDO New York