AU ministers agree to move industrial agenda forward for Africa’s socio- economic development
Nairobi, Kenya 13 June 2013- “industrialization advancement is a must for Africa to move forward in the development agenda….” this was underscored by Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) on the occasion of the 20th Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Industry (CAMI-20) opening session, on 13 June 2013.
Mr. Mwencha recalled that Africa became a prosperous, united and effective player in the global economy. He underscored the value of Pan-Africanism and deeper integration through south-south cooperation as key for the development of Africa’s industry.
Officiated by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, CAMI-20 is organized by African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Government of Kenya.
“Africa, as we speak today, remains largely a trading continent. Undeniably, trade is an important driver of economic growth and development. Indeed, there are many regions and countries of the world that have been able to lift their citizens from poverty to prosperity through trade. Unfortunately, however, the share of Africa in global trade is insignificant, at only 3 percent. Moreover, a key feature of Africa's trade, which has had adverse impact on economic growth and development, is its high external orientation and relatively low level of intra-Africa trade, President Kenyatta told participants.
Intra-African trade stands at around only 10 percent compared to 60 percent, 40 percent and 30 percent intra-regional trade that has been achieved by Europe, North America and the Association of South East Asian Nations respectively, he added. (Complete speech of the president is available on www.au.int).
On his part Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO highlighted the different areas in which UNIDO collaborated with Africa, including environmental sustainability, trade capacity building, poverty reduction, and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA). In the area of energy, UNIDO has developed and implemented a number of power projects in Africa with the focus on mini-hydro and solar energy as well as promotion of industrial energy efficiency and energy system optimization.
He assured the ministers that UNIDO will continue on successful cooperation in order to move the continent’s industrial development agenda forward. (Complete speech of the Director General is available on www.au.int).
“As we approach the target date of 2015 for the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is crucial for Africa to place among its priorities, the rapid industrialization of the continent in the post 2015 development agenda. The importance of Africa’s industrialization cannot be overemphasized, considering the important role the sector could play in the socio-economic development of the continent”, said Ms. Fatima Haram Acly, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, AUC. (Complete speech of the Commissioner is available on www.au.int).
Mr. Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, African Development Bank (AfDB) indicated the need for enhanced infrastructure development to promote industrialization in Africa, and committed the support of AfDB in infrastructure development projects.
He underscored the need for a legal and policy framework to attract the private sector to invest in industry as well as the shift from brown to green industrialization by ensuring the right technology to ensure environmental protection.
The ministers are expected to endorse the recommendations of the expert session which took place 10-12 June 2013. The recommendation t include;
• Promotion of the private sector entrepreneurship development for sustainable employment and economic empowerment of women and gender;
• Access to renewable energy for productive use for rural development;
• Promotion of green industries, energy efficiency and cleaner and sustainable production in the context of climate change;
• Capacity building, research, development, and innovation for industrialization;
• Long-term financing for African industrialization;
• Appraisal of the state of implementation of agreed priorities on Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA).
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