The COVID-19 crisis hit African economies well before the pandemic spread across the continent, with falling demand for African commodities and products, disruptions in trade and travel, reduced remittances and foreign investment, and vast job and income losses.
The pandemic arrived when prospects for the continent were promising. Economies were expanding and poverty was in decline. Technology and innovation were being embraced across the continent, and progress had been made in unity and economic integration. The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area promised a strong boost in intra-African trade.
In working to realize the objectives of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and by following the roadmaps laid out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063, the response to the COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to redress structural inequalities and vulnerabilities and promote transformative change for more resilient Africa.
On Africa Industrialization Day, I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations system to support inclusive, resilient and sustainable industrial development in Africa.