Industrialisation can sustain Africa's recent economic growth - Experts

Abidjan, 21 March 2013 (ECA) – A meeting of technical experts kicked off this week, calling for accelerated industrialisation, as "one of the surest ways of ensuring the sustainability of the continent’s recent economic growth." The three-day technical meeting is tackling the theme, "Industrialization for an Emerging Africa " ahead of the Ministerial Conference to be held on 25-26 March. It aims to recommend concrete interventions and actions for African countries as they design and implement effective industrial strategies and policies that can promote value addition.

Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) told the meeting that although Africa recorded a reasonably good growth rate of 5.0% in 2012, well above the world average, "we cannot lose sight of the disturbing disjuncture between this growth and prevailing social conditions in many of our countries." This growth, stated Hamdok, has not translated into the broad-based economic and social development needed to lift millions of Africans out of poverty.

He underscored that value-addition in the manufacturing sector would enable Africa’s products to enter global markets on a more competitive basis and contribute to sustained wealth creation. "It has historically provided a good foundation for the acquisition of skills, a major source of jobs and basis for innovation and learning by doing," he said.

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission, Mr. Maxwell Mkwazelamba underscored in his statement the need to develop linkages between the process of Africa’s industrialization and the post-2015 development agenda.

"Clearly, if Africa is to eradicate poverty and create decent jobs, the two processes cannot be seen as separate; whatever policies we come up with and begin to implement will ensure that we rid the continent of its continued dependence on primary commodities and ensure inclusive and sustainable growth," he stressed.

Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance at the Prime Minister’s Office, Ms. Nialé Kaba said there was a need to carry out a diagnosis of past policies on industrialization as African economies seek to advance from current low-income to middle income status.

The discussions also touched on the recent economic and social developments in Africa and reviewed progress on regional integration, MDGs and the need to harness Africa’s demographic dividends.

To accelerate industrialization, the discussions underlined the importance of appropriate and targeted policies required in order to derive the full benefit of inclusive African structural transformation.

The three-day technical preparatory meeting of the Committee of Experts will prepare and adopt a concise report of the main recommendations and resolutions of its meeting and submit to the Conference of Ministers for discussion and adoption on 25-26 March.

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