ECA Press Release 210/2012
Addis Ababa, 6 December 2012(ECA) - Industrialization can help African countries grow at high levels, create millions of jobs for its young population and address poverty reduction in a sustainable manner, according to Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of Economic Development and NEPAD Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
In remarks made during this week’s commemoration of Africa Industrialization Day, Nnadozie said that while Africa seeks to diversify its commodity-focused economies, there are opportunities in industrializing on the basis of its commodities as well. If Africa is exporting huge amounts of commodities, then according to Nnadozie, it is time to make more out of them by adding value, instead of exporting them in raw form.
“Creating linkages in the value chain is where the good jobs lie and we can get the benefits that lie therein,” he said adding that transforming enclave-economies linked to the industrial commodities, such as iron and copper by establishing forward and backward linkages offers opportunities for mining or transportation suppliers to be sourced within these communities. This, said Nnadozie, creates jobs and can be a “source of industrialization.”
Furthermore, with intra-African trade, countries can avoid the controversies within the international trade regime, such as the EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and escalated tariffs that result in unfair terms of trade between African countries and the European Union.
In a related session on imperatives for harnessing new public-private strategic investment partnerships in the industrial sector as powerful engines of economic growth in Africa, Nnadozie said that the consensus that manufacturing provides the greatest potential for job creation and creating domestic linkages warrants the focus on new means by which to harness all available investment for this sector. PPPs, he said, can propel the continent’s own manufacturing as a main supplier of goods for domestic consumption.
“Businesses can share their progress in certain areas, such as pursuing trans-national trade and transactions, to cooperate in formulating more effective short, medium and long-term policies for trade and industrial development,” he said adding that the private sector holds valuable information on the potential of new industries and the means by which to productively guide assets, such as Africa’s growing labour force and new financial investments to these industries.
Within the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1991-2000), the UN General Assembly, in 1989, proclaimed 20 November Africa Industrialization Day (resolution 44/237). The Day is intended to mobilize the commitment of the international community to the industrialization of Africa.
This year’s Africa Industrialization Day highlights the important role intra-African trade can play in reducing poverty, increasing food and nutrition security and supporting sustainable development.
The event also exhibited manufactured products such as Ethiopia’s textile and leather industry.
The event was held at the headquarters of the African Union. It was organized by the African Union Commission, UNIDO and the ECA on 5th December 2012.
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