AfDB, AU, UN agencies pledge more action for Africa’s industrial transformation

The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday, September 21, 2017, joined partners from the African Union Commission, African governments, key United Nations agencies and development finance institutions to renew support for African countries’ industrialization.

The partners also agreed to undertake and implement joint programmes for increased development impact, especially in the mobilization of adequate resources to enable the full implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa(IDDA III).

The commitments were made at a high-level event on the “Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (2016-2025): From political commitment to actions on the ground” held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In 2016, the AfDB developed, together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), an ambitious Industrialize Africa strategy that aims at more than doubling the continent’s industrial GDP.

“We believe it is about time for Africa’s industrialization. Let me restate that the ‘Africa rising’ story is still alive and well,” said Amadou Hott, AfDB’s Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, in remarks he delivered on behalf of the Bank President.

The partners in this new deal include the African Development Bank, African governments, the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Under Secretary General, Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA), ECA, UNIDO, private sector organizations and development finance institutions.

On July 29, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution proclaiming the period 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III). By the terms of the resolution, the General Assembly called on the AU Commission, NEPAD, ECA and specifically UNIDO “to develop, operationalize and lead the implementation of the programme for the Third Decade, in accordance with its mandate and through voluntary contributions.”

The UN General Assembly then highlighted the need for the continent to take “urgent action to advance sustainable industrialization as a key element of furthering economic diversification and value addition, creating jobs and thus reducing poverty and contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

To ensure successful implementation of the proclamation, the African Development Bank and partners used the side event to work towards effective mobilization of adequate resources to enable full implementation of IDDA III.

Director General of UNIDO Li Yong stressed the need to translate the promises into concrete action in which responsibility is shared by all stakeholders.

“Africa’s industrialization is of great importance to the international community. Successful implementation is key,” he stressed. “It is in the world’s best interest.”

The President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, said the new deal offers a great opportunity to lead to improvement industrialization, leading ultimately to poverty reduction. “Africa needs to industrialize more, and at a faster rate,” he said, stressing how industrialization is critical to Africa’s realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Renewed partnerships are important to drive Africa out of poverty,” he added.

For her part, Deputy United Nations Secretary General Amina Mohammed stressed the need to move from political declarations to implementation, especially in the individual countries.

Mohammed, who represented the UN Secretary General, said Africa and its partners need to find funding for the initiatives.

“Greater regional integration is critical to industrialization,” she said.

She also spoke on why education and skills acquisition should play a key role in industrialization.

The Commissioner of Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission, Albert Muchanga, stressed the importance of industrialization and charged partners to ensure the benefits reach Africans at the lowest level.

He commended the AfDB for its planned African Investment Forum and pledged to work with the Bank to promote investment on the continent.

The partners commended the innovative approach by UNIDO through the Performance for Country Partnership (PCP) and support of strengthening private-sector engagement and pledged to devise the necessary governance mechanisms to guide the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of the Roadmap for the implementation of the Decade.

This, they say, is necessary to ensure that development interventions produce the desired development impact.

The meeting reaffirmed the need for a partnership approach. To maximize resource efficiency and the footprint of the initiative, IDDA III is implemented with partners such as the African Development Bank though the Bank’s Industrialize Africa Strategy, which was developed in collaboration with UNIDO and ECA.

Speaking on behalf of the private sector, the Executive Director and CEO of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole stressed why the partners and governments should move from talking to working. “Without the implementation of the IDDA III , there is no way the world can meet the SDGs,” he said.

“It is time for us to take action.”

Cole called for the development of an effective digital infrastructure or digital highway for Africa.

The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, José Graziano Da Silva, pledged FAO’s commitment to the industrialization of Africa, and pledged his organization’s support for the partnership.

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