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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Industrialization should play central role in Africa’s economic development

ABIDJAN, 26 March 2013 – Participants at the sixth joint annual meetings of the African Union (AU) Conference of ministers of economy and finance, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of African ministers of finance, planning and economic development, taking place in the Côte d'Ivoire city of Abidjan, emphasized the importance of industrialization for the continent’s economic development.

At the two-day event, entitled, “Industrialization for an emerging Africa”, Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), told participants: “Industrialization is not a luxury for Africa, but a necessity for its long-term survival.”

Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of UNECA, said: “Africa must control it's development narrative.”

Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said he was glad “that UNIDO's work has contributed to the African Union and UNECA issue paper for this important conference,” and added that “industrialization does not occur by chance. It requires deliberate, persistent and consistent public-private partnerships and visionary leadership. I strongly believe that private sector-led industrialization is key to sustainable development, job creation and poverty reduction.”

Yumkella participated in the first plenary session together with Ivorian Prime Minister, Kablan Duncan; the President of the Africa Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka; the Minister in the South African Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel; and the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister of Algeria in charge of Prospective and Statistics, Bashir Messaitfa. A panel discussion was moderated by the BBC’s Zeinab Badawi.

Participants noted that implementing sustainable, structural transformation in Africa will not be easy, and that each African country will have to design strategies and policies based on its own sectoral and resource priorities, environmental challenges, initial conditions and domestic capabilities. Among other areas, focus should be placed on efficient, sustainable resource use in energy, industry and agriculture. International cooperation and significant support is needed, particularly in sectors such as energy. “Investments in the energy sector should be part of the industrialization strategy,” said the President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara.

African ministers of finance and economic planning participating in the conference received copies of the Government of Côte d'Ivoire’s new industrial policy, developed with the support of UNIDO.

Another paper presented at the conference, Industrialization for an Emerging Africa, recognized the importance of the Action Plan for Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa (AIDA) as an integrated framework for achieving the industrialization of the continent.

From 2006 to 2008, UNIDO provided technical cooperation support to the Conference of African Minister of Industry (CAMI) to develop and launch the AIDA. Additional support was provided by the governments of South Africa, Algeria and Egypt during their Chairmanship of CAMI.

With the financial support of Germany, UNIDO, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, AUC and several African institutions, has also developed the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, which will be launched later this year.

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