AfDB, UNECA, UNDP call for sustainable industrialization in Africa
AfDB, UNECA, UNDP call for sustainable industrialization in Africa Businessday
Accelerating Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Community of Africa (UNECA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have called for sustained industrial development on the continent of Africa.
The three multinational development agencies focused on helping the continent fulfill its full economic potential made this call at the just kicked-off 2023 African Economic Conference (AEC 2023), jointly organized by them and taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event is expected to last for three days (16-18 of November 2023).
Challenges and Opportunities
During the conference themed “Imperatives for Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa,” Kevin Chika Urama, Chief Economist and Vice President of AfDB Group, representing President Akinwunmi Adesina, highlighted COVID-19’s challenges, prompting Africa to address global economic shocks and enhance competitiveness in global trade.
Urama emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the structural deficiencies in Africa’s industrial sector and amplified the risks associated with continued dependence on foreign manufactured and intermediate goods. This dependence was evident in various sectors, including food, medical supplies, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals. Many African countries struggled to cope with the disruptions in global supply chains caused by these global shocks.
Urama compared Africa’s manufacturing contribution to that of Asia, stating that Africa’s manufacturing contribution stagnated at 2.1 percent globally, while Asia surged to 54 percent. He also highlighted Africa’s heavy dependence on raw material exports, constituting 80 percent, compared to China’s 93 percent in manufacturing exports. Urama emphasized the need for Africa to shift its focus from raw material exports to manufactured goods in order to establish itself as a competitive force in global trade.
Path to Sustainable Industrialization
Urama praised the accomplishments of Africa’s major corporations and called for them to pave the way for younger and less established companies to flourish. He emphasized the need for sustainable industries that create quality jobs, boost innovation and productivity, and foster socio-technological transitions towards high productivity and wealth creation in economies.
Urama also highlighted Africa’s resource potential in leading the Electric Vehicle (EV) technology revolution. He mentioned critical metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite necessary for EV lithium-ion batteries, which are abundant in over half of African nations. This positions Africa to play a pivotal role in the global green economy.
Urama listed out some actionable steps that can be taken to accelerate industrialization and structural transformation in Africa. These steps include prioritizing industrialization through stable economic policies, encouraging local production, investing in education and skills, establishing Special Economic Zones, and offering fiscal incentives to foster regional trade and industrial growth.
Claver Gatete, Secretary General of UNECA, highlighted the role of industrialization, infrastructure development, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in sustaining growth and accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals. Gatete emphasized that industrialization is key to sustained growth and transformation, providing jobs, skills acquisition, innovation, and formal employment, especially for women and youth.
Matthias Naab, Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa at UNDP, called for collaboration between AfDB, UNECA, governments, and the private sector. Naab emphasized that collaboration, industrialization, intra-African trade, and youth involvement are crucial for Africa’s sustainable development. He highlighted the importance of investing in Africa’s value addition based on regional value chains, ensuring the inclusion of all people, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- Target 9.2: Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product (GDP) in line with national circumstances.
- Target 8.2: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation.
- Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator for Target 9.2: Share of employment and GDP in the manufacturing sector.
- Indicator for Target 8.2: Economic productivity growth rate.
- Indicator for Target 12.2: Resource efficiency measures and reduction in raw material exports.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure||Target 9.2: Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product (GDP) in line with national circumstances.||Indicator: Share of employment and GDP in the manufacturing sector.|
|SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth||Target 8.2: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation.||Indicator: Economic productivity growth rate.|
|SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production||Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.||Indicator: Resource efficiency measures and reduction in raw material exports.|
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