PRETORIA, 20 November 2018 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Southern African Regional Office (SARO) and the Department of Trade and Industry (the DTI) today jointly organized an event to commemorate the 2018 Africa Industrialization Day (AID 2018). The event highlighted the role of regional value chains for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production – in particular in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).
“We need to pursue economic and political diplomacy and an approach that fosters both member country relations and collective endeavours to expedite the opportunities for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development,” said Khaled El Mekwad, UNIDO Representative in South Africa, at the event. “It is also hoped that the advocacy and advisory role of eminent IDDA III Champions such as South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, will leverage various forms of support to fast-track Africa’s development during the Decade.”
The event gathered a multi-stakeholder audience to raise awareness of the IDDA III’s principles and priorities to firmly anchor Africa on a path towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Amongst the principles highlighted were government ownership and leadership; strengthening enabling business environments; building strong partnerships for financial and non-financial resource mobilization; and prioritizing sectors with the greatest potential for growth and poverty reduction.
The regional value chain approach seeks to resolve the high import penetration rate of pharmaceutical ingredients, the unsupportive and incoherent policy frameworks, the lack of regulatory capacity, the sale of counterfeit and substandard medicines, as well as the limited pharmaceutical skills and supportive regulatory harmonization.
Participants agreed that the pharmaceutical sector offers a useful value chain framework for regional integration as it encompasses a wide range of activities and services from product conceptualization to commercialization for local, national, regional and global markets; thus offering great potential for extending cross-border production activities and the utilization of natural and human resources of the region.
The importance of developing the pharmaceutical industry to help address Africa’s disproportionate burden of diseases – such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS – through improved access to medicines was also raised during the event.
In addition to the pharmaceutical sector, a representative of the DTI noted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Industrialization Strategy and Road Map (SISR) 2015-2063 highlights a number of regional value chain priorities, including agro-processing and copper for the purpose of energy storage and mining equipment. Political will and greater attention to implementation were cited as important measures towards accelerating and optimizing Africa’s industrial development.
Since 2006, UNIDO has played a pivotal role by providing technical support to boost the pharmaceutical sector and, in 2013, launched the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (FAMPA).
For more information, please contact:
Khaled El Mekwad
Regional Office in South Africa