MARRAKECH, 30 November 2019 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) participated in the Second EU-Africa Business Summit at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry of Belgium and the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission. The EU-Africa Business Summit is a yearly event meant to extend the longstanding EU Business Summit to include Africa and partnerships involving European and African firms. UNIDO was the only UN agency invited to the event.
A panel discussion on “Innovative EU-Africa public-private development partnerships” was designed and moderated by Philippe Scholtès, UNIDO’s Managing Director of the Directorate of Programme Development and Technical Cooperation. This panel highlighted UNIDO’s comparative advantages vis-à-vis African and EU governments and industry:
(i) the fact that as a global inter-governmental organization, UNIDO counts amongst its shareholders African as well as EU governments for a partnership of equals;
(ii) the absence of an agenda - other than the organization’s ISID mandate—when delivering services in Africa, as by constitution UNIDO is not endowed with financial resources upfront for its technical assistance programmes, but must mobilize voluntary contributions;
(iii) a focus on inclusive and sustainable industrial development that places the organization and its staff in constant contact with industry and business;
(iv) a network of field offices, technical centres and projects across Africa that makes for fast outreach to industry.
Through the testimonies of both Government and Industry, the panel showed how a careful alignment of commercial goals and development objectives can leverage substantial resources towards the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
A second panel, organized by the Environment Directorate of the EU Commission, focused on “The Circular Economy and Green Industries in Africa”. The discussion focused on the promotion of sustainable and resource-efficient policies, with an emphasis on the European strategy in Africa for plastics and waste management. UNIDO’s Scholtès gave an overview of the organization’s experience related to the circular economy, while presenting concrete examples of its interventions as well as its work with networks such as the Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECPnet) and its participation in platforms such as the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE).
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Managing Director of UNIDO