Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa IDDAIII (2016-2025): From political commitments to actions on the ground
– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa IDDAIII (2016-2025): From political commitments to actions on the ground
Heads of State and Government, Distinguished Ministers, Excellencies, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I want to start by acknowledging the co-organizers of this initiative, including UNIDO, the AU Commission, UNECA, and the OSAA.
All of these entities were instrumental in bringing about the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
I would also like to thank the many high-level dignitaries and officials, including heads of state and government, who have joined us here today.
We all have to acknowledge a simple fact: Africa is growing. This is true for its economy, with successive growth recorded since the early 2000s. It is also true for its population, particularly in relation to its youth. By 2050, Africa will be home to 38 out of the 40 youngest countries in the world. (Europe’s hair will be a lot grayer than its African counterpart by then).
This growth presents great opportunity. It could lead to the eradication of poverty and an improvement in livelihoods. But, for this to happen, growth must be inclusive. And it must be sustained.
Industrialization has the potential to drive this kind of growth.
As we have heard here today, Africa needs to industrialize more – and at a faster pace.
The Decade offers us a pathway. But it cannot be seen as a standalone initiative. Efforts must be woven into the frameworks already in place. These include:
• the 2030 Agenda;
• the AU’s Agenda 2063;
• the NEPAD; and
• the Framework for a Renewed UN-AU Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda
These mechanisms offer us opportunities for more action, and more diverse partnerships. They also set the stage for stronger engagement between the UN and the African Union.
Renewed, stronger partnerships are instrumental in supporting Africa’s transformative agenda.
The Continental Free Trade Area will open doors to new markets and expanded business opportunities. These are magic ingredients for the full realization of Africa’s great potential and the achievement of the SDGs.
If industrialization is to flourish, certain conditions must be in place. Institutions must be resilient. Women must be economically empowered. Investments in education must ensure that growing young populations represent demographic dividends.
Youth will be a focus of my presidency. I hope we will have more opportunities to exchange ideas on how the UN can better support the participation of – and investment in – youth.
We must move towards more resilient, diversified economies. This will demand investments in energy, infrastructure, water, agriculture, and green technologies.
Another necessary condition is adequate financing. The international community must be reminded of the commitments it made by adopting the SDGs, and signing up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Support to domestic resource mobilization will also allow Africa to be in the driving seat of its own development and industrialization.
I started with a simple fact, so I will end with a simple fact. No one actor or entity can do this alone.
Many of you in this room are government representatives. The responsibility does not lie only with you. This doesn’t let you off the hook though! Everyone has a role to play. Governments. The UN. The AU. The Private Sector. Financial Institutions. Civil Society. Academia.
Renewed, stronger partnerships are instrumental in supporting Africa’s transformative agenda. UN support to these partnerships will be a main focus of my travel to the region later this year.
Discussions about industrialization can be very technical. In reality, what we are talking about is people.
People work in factories. People buy commodities. People contribute to the supply chain.
I am confident that today’s event will be one step towards a wider partnership, which supports the industrial development of Africa – for its people.