Industrialisation is the key

UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said recently that Africa’s pursuit of industrialisation was critical to the continent’s full integration into the global economy. 

“Industrialisation is essential for Africa’s effective integration into the global economy. It has been going slow but remains on a positive trajectory as evidenced by six per cent annual growth rates between 2003 and 2007. Africa’s pursuit of industrialisation continues to be hindered by many challenges which must be addressed urgently. These challenges include limited industrial skills and technological capabilities, weak support from institutions, inadequate financing and underdeveloped internal and regional markets. The global financial and economic crisis has also had a negative impact on Africa’s industrialisation efforts,” said Yumkella, marking Africa Industrialisation Day. He said that the 2009 World Bank Global Development Finance report suggests that the world economy is poised for recovery, adding, “In order to benefit from this recovery and ultimately increase its share of global output and trade, Africa must focus on industrialisation as a critical engine of economic growth and development.”
Africa Industrialisation Day was established in 1989 by the United Nations General Assembly and is celebrated on 20 November. This year’s theme is 'Industrialisation for Integration'. The Director General said that UNIDO was committed to supporting Africa’s efforts to create a more prosperous future.
“It is possible for Africa to overcome its challenges in industrialisation and transform its economy, and I am glad to see the various efforts and initiatives it is taking,” said Yumkella, referring to the African Union Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa. The Action Plan, adopted in January 2008, outlines a set of programmes, projects and activities for stimulating a competitive and sustainable industrial development process.
Yumkella pointed out the important role that regional integration, if conceived and managed effectively, can play in fostering the industrialisation of the continent, adding, “The benefits of enhanced regional integration in Africa include increased production competitiveness through economies of scale and scope, increased trade opportunities through larger markets, increased opportunities for larger investments, and increased bargaining power. All these attributes are fundamental to the continent’s quest for organic, robust and self-sustaining economic growth and development. Coupled with integration, industrial development will allow African nations to speak with one voice and accelerate the process of achieving stronger political and economic cooperation.”

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