Updated: February 28, 2021
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged African leaders on Wednesday to pursue an economic growth that benefits both people and the planet.
Mr. Guterres made the appeal in his message for Africa Industrialization Day, observed annually on 20 November.
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Thousands of African policymakers and industry leaders are in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, for the 2019 Africa Industrialization Week at the African Union Headquarters. It is holding 18-20 November 2019.
It is a massive gathering of industrial policymakers, private sector leaders, civil society and development cooperating partners.
Their aim is to strategize on how to better place Africa’s industrial sector.
Guterres said industrial development is “of critical importance” for sustained and inclusive economic growth in African countries.
His call came as African countries gear up to implement an historic free trade agreement.
Launched last year, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is expected to usher in a market of least $3 trillion and a consumer base of more than one billion.
While manufacturing on the continent has been growing faster than the world average, he said it will need to speed up
At the same time, the manufacturing sector is projected to double by 2025, creating millions of jobs.
“I call on African countries to adopt a holistic approach to industrial policy, pursuing, through stronger multi-stakeholder partnerships, green and clean industrialization strategies that promote equitable economic opportunities and take into account the urgency of addressing the climate crisis,” said Mr. Guterres.
The Secretary-General underscored international commitment to Africa’s sustainable development, with the UN General Assembly proclaiming the period from 2016-2025 the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
As a result, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will scale up technical assistance to countries on the continent.
The agency also will partner with other UN entities on initiatives in areas such as technology transfer, agribusiness value chain development, renewable energy and development of special economic zones and industrial parks.