(As prepared for delivery)
Excellencies, Honorable Ministers,
Heads of Delegations,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a special privilege and a real pleasure for me to participate in this year’s TICAD Ministerial Meeting whose discussions will ultimately contribute to setting the agenda for TICAD VII. Please allow me to thank the Government of Japan and the co-organizers for the kind invitation extended to UNIDO to participate in this important event.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNIDO particularly welcomes the focus of this year’s Plenary 2 on Africa’s economic transformation for inclusive growth as it speaks to the core of UNIDO’s aspirations for its African Member States. Historically, industrialization has been at the heart of any country’s structural transformation and served as the catalyst for job creation, higher productivity, capital access, learning and innovation, and exports expansion for technology spillovers.
Under its mandate to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID), UNIDO is implementing various activities to enhance the meaningful structural transformation in Africa. The areas of focus include, among others, agribusiness and agro industries, trade capacity building, energy and environment, and inclusive human capital development.
An innovative approach that UNIDO has been taking in recent years is the Programmes for Country Partnership, PCPs for short. PCPs are multi-stakeholder partnership models led by the respective governments and aligned with their own development agenda. They combine technical assistance with policy advice, standards and investments. PCPs focus on a select number of priority sectors or areas based on job creation potential, availability of raw materials, export potential and ability to attract investment. In Africa, PCPs are implemented in Ethiopia, Morocco and Senegal.
Within the framework of past TICAD meetings, I am happy to list some of the projects UNIDO is or has been implementing recently with the generous financial support from the Government of Japan. Funding for these technical assistance projects was received from a variety of sources such as the Japanese Supplementary Budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and contributions from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry:
- The project on Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Industrial Development (LCCR), currently under implementation in Egypt, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa, helped local businesses to assess vulnerable areas of their production chains; adopt appropriate technologies provided by Japanese suppliers for strengthening the climate resilience; and produce more energy and resource efficient, higher valued products. In the framework of the project, UNIDO, in collaboration with UNIDO Investment Technology Promotion Office in Tokyo (ITPO), successfully bridged Japanese and African companies as business partners and provided opportunities to explore investment possibilities to the climate resilient technology
- The Low Carbon Low Emission Clean Energy Technology (LCET) Programme aims to globally promote the rapid deployment and dissemination of new low carbon technologies, and is currently being implemented in Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco. The targeted partnership programme will result in transferring Japan’s ultra-low head micro hydropower technology to Ethiopia and Kenya and redox flow battery technology to Morocco.
- Activities on promotion of geothermal power generation and its related technologies are ongoing in selected African countries. Under the UNIDO Geothermal Programme, UNIDO in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KenGen will start the Operation and Maintenance capacity strengthening with IoT Technologies for the Olkaria Geothermal Power Station project. Its objective is to increase power generation capacity while maintaining the current capacity factor and minimizing potential operation and maintenance issues of the Olkaria Geothermal Power Station.
- UNIDO implements several projects aimed at ensuring human security for the most vulnerable populations by focusing on the needs of individual people, diversifying local economies and increasing the self-help capacities for reconstruction of livelihoods of communities. These projects are carried out in close cooperation between recipient countries, Japan and UNIDO: For example, a project which supports the Government of Ethiopia’s Rural WASH Programme introduces an innovative solar-powered water sanitation system. In Liberia youth employment is promoted through vocational training in mining, construction and agriculture. In Nigeria social stabilization and economic resilience among youth is enhanced through entrepreneurship education. Two projects, one in Somalia and the other one in South Sudan, shift the focus from humanitarian-based aid to sustainable development assistance by delivering technical and vocational skills training to young people and women.
- Last but not least, UNIDO ITPO in Tokyo supports developing countries and economies in transition in attracting investment and technology from Japan whilst assisting investors in Japan in developing partnership opportunities.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we look forward to setting the agenda of TICAD VII, UNIDO stands ready to partner with the Government of Japan and various TICAD stakeholders to implement activities in support of Africa’s economic transformation in line with the 2063 Agenda, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA) launched in March 2018 in Kigali, and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) pronounced by the UNGA in July 2016. Concretely, we would like to put forward for consideration under TICAD VII the following (but not limited to these) areas:
- Value chain development at national and regional levels, with a focus on selected sectors such as Agriculture, which can facilitate integration into the global economy and energize industrialization, competitiveness and innovation.
- Support towards the development of requisite industrial infrastructure such as special economic zones and industrial parks to facilitate the implementation of industrial activities; attract investment; reduce transaction costs and increase the ease of doing business;
- Human capital development with a focus on development of requisite skills including vocational skills that respond to market demand and can facilitate SME development with a focus on youth and women;
- Enhanced trade capacities to effectively support both regional and international trade taking into account evolving features of international trade and financial relations and harness them effectively with a view to fostering structural transformation.
- Upgrading of digital capabilities to take advantage of rapid digitization. Africa needs a digital industrial strategy to address the opportunities and disruptive challenges offered by the digital economy.
- Renewable energy development to decrease countries’ dependency on energy imports, create jobs and mitigate climate change. Focus should be on mainstreaming renewable energy in SMEs to increase their competitiveness; promotion of renewable energy technologies; and implementation of innovative business models to encourage investment.
- Private sector development and investment promotion through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I conclude, I would like to reiterate UNIDO’s commitment to partner with other stakeholders within the TICAD VII framework to support Africa’s economic transformation agenda. I wish all of us a productive meeting today. Thank you for your attention.