Industrialization will help Africa fully join world economy, says Ban

20 November 2009 – Armed conflict, inadequate infrastructure, weak governance, limited financing and technological abilities, and policies that stifle entrepreneurship, limit competition and raise the cost of doing business are hindering the industrialization that Africa needs to fully join the global economy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today.

“Efforts to address these challenges must be rooted in a shared global responsibility for our planet’s prosperity,” he said in a message marking Africa Industrialization Day, observed annually on 20 November and whose theme this year is ‘Industrialization for integration.’

“We know what is needed, including a green agricultural revolution linked to industrial transformation. Indeed, there is great industrial potential in the emergence of a new, green economic paradigm,” he added.

African leaders must provide a supportive regulatory and financial framework for such changes to gain strength, he noted.

Meanwhile, the international community must work with African Governments and institutions to do the research, make the investments and deploy the technologies for a climate-resilient, low-carbon growth path to feed Africa’s growing population and raise living standards by building the industries of the future.

Mr. Ban cited encouraging economic growth on the continent in the past few years but stressed that increased industrialization is necessary if the transformation of African economies is to be sustained.

“Industrialization will help Africa increase its share of global output and trade, and become more fully and meaningfully a part of the global economy,” he said. “But integration itself will help Africa industrialize, since African economies need improved access to global markets if its industries are to be competitive.

“Greater integration of regional markets on the continent itself can also foster industrial development by making it easier to produce at economic scale.”

Speaking at a panel discussion at UN Headquarters in New York to mark the Day, the Secretary-General noted that last year was the fifth consecutive year in which Africa registered economic growth of more than 5 per cent, but he warned that the industrial sector has not lived up to its potential.

“Africa still accounts for just over one per cent of world industry, and industrial development on the continent has lagged behind other developing countries,” he said.


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