VIENNA, 26 AUG 2022 - Agro industrial parks are the proven tools for the structural transformation of an economy. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) recognizes that agriculture is a key sector for Africa’s development and prosperity, said Managing Director, Corporate Services and Operations of UNIDO, Yuko Yasunaga.
He was speaking on behalf of UNIDO’s Director General Gerd Müller at a virtual side event organized by UNIDO and the African Union Commission (AUC), on ‘Building Resilient and Sustainable Agro Industries: Enhancing Africa’s Agricultural Potential’, held on the sidelines of the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on Africa's Development (TICAD8), led by the Government of Japan.
Yasunaga said that UNIDO, as the lead agency for implementing the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) initiative, is committed to the continent’s industrialization and appreciated the role played by Japan in Africa’s development and Japan’s active collaboration with UNIDO.
The Head of Industry at the AUC Department of Trade and Industry Hussein Hassan, highlighted the need to build resilient and sustainable agro industries. “This is vital to enhance Africa’s ability to drive structural transformation and achieve the overarching objective of feeding its 1.3 billion people,” he said and commended Japan-Africa relations under the TICAD process and UNIDO’s role in accelerating industrial development. He called upon the partners to support the African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Development to be held in November 2022 in Niger. The Summit provides an international platform to devise new strategic approaches to accelerate Africa’s Industrialization and secure a renewed commitment towards that objective.
The Ambassador of Japan to Ghana Hisanobu Mochizuki, said that TICAD was established as a platform to explore innovative and sustainable ideas to address challenges that cut across several policy domains in Africa. “Today’s event echoes Japan’s determination to promote the concept of human security, which is a key development cooperation objective of our development assistance. By promoting resilient and sustainable industrialization of agriculture in Africa, we are creating an opportunity for safety, dignity and improved livelihoods in Africa,” he added.
Three panel discussions were held with the participation of high level public and private sector officials. The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Zimbabwe Sekai Nzenza, listed four important factors for developing agro-industries — finance, use of science and technology, expertise and partnerships — which would lead towards food self-sufficiency in Africa. The Chairman, BIDCO Group of Companies Vimal Shah, discussed the importance of public-private sector financing that is people-centered and involves all stakeholders.
Currently, UNIDO supports 14 industrial parks in Africa and more regional and trans-national projects are being developed, according to the Managing Director and Officer-in-charge of SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation at UNIDO, Dejene Tezera.
The application of 4IR technologies in Agriculture production would boost efficiency and improve productivity, said the Chief of the Division of Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence at UNIDO Marco Kamiya, recalling the experiences from a project in Namibia.
The Chief of the Africa division at UNIDO, Victor Djemba, thanked the organizers and participants for the fruitful deliberations. He recalled that innovative approaches, integration and coherence of policies, resource mobilization and innovative partnerships play a key role in agro-industrial development of the continent.
Among other participants were representatives from Afreximbank, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, African Development Bank (AfDB), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), AfroChampions Initiative, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, AfriLabs, Satake Corporation and Agritecno Fertilizantes, S.L.
For further information, please contact:
Victor C. Djemba, Chief UNIDO Africa Division,
Matilda Muweme, Senior Programme Officer, IDDA III Secretariat, UNIDO Africa Division