Addis Ababa, 15 April 2013 (ECA) — On April 18-19 in Johannesburg and ahead of the June 2013 COMESA Ministerial meeting, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will discuss and validate with concerned transformational stakeholders, the actionable recommendations to be tabled for swift decisions and implementation from two of its recently concluded regional value chains related joint studies_. Similar steps are underway to move the regional transformative agenda forward in ECOWAS to bring its rice and livestock sectors on much faster transformative paths.
The meeting comes on the heels of the Sixth Joint Annual Meetings of ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, held in Abidjan from March 25-26, which ended with a unanimous call to pursue commodity based-industrialization as an impetus to Africa's aspirations for structural transformation.
To take the transformative agenda straight to the field, ECA is engaging the African Union, its institutions and member States starting with COMESA, the largest and most advanced common market space and ECOWAS, the single most populous Africa’s regional economic community on implementing a commodity-based industrialization programme. ECA will partner with these institutions to develop and promote regional strategic commodity value chains, starting with rice, maize and livestock as adopted in 2006 and 2010 in Abuja by the African Heads of States and governments, their development partners and other key transformational stakeholders.
The April meeting hopes to advance the key message of this year’s evidence-based Economic Report on Africa, "Making the Most of Africa's Commodities: Industrializing for Growth, Jobs, and Economic Transformation – that places emphasis on adding value to soft and hard commodities and developing forward and backward linkages within and beyond Africa’s commodity sector. And, as emphatically stated by the Ministers at the end of the 25-26 March Conference, “industrialisation has become an imperative for Africa's development and its careful pursuit cannot be postponed any longer."
In this regard, ECA aims to engage facilitative institutions to generate solutions to the impasse Africa currently finds itself in with almost no industrialized agriculture. Furthermore, as indicated by the Ministers in their concluding Statement in March, the long-standing challenges of youth unemployment, poverty and gender disparities; as well as the Continent’s rapid process of urbanization require a path that can generate the knowledge and skills base needed to reap the potentials of a demographic dividend – that path is found in commodity-based industrialization.