Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for Africa Industrialization Day, to be observed on 20 November:
Many African economies have shown impressive growth rates in recent years, but increased prosperity has not always translated into inclusive wealth creation. Far too often, economic development depends on the extraction of natural resources and on low-skilled labour, which has resulted in a weak manufacturing base and uneven distribution of wealth.
Agriculture still accounts for the major share of rural household income and employs over 60 per cent of Africa’s labour force, particularly women. Low agricultural productivity continues to threaten food security in Africa as a whole. I therefore welcome this year’s theme for Africa Industrialization Day: the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrialization and the close links between agro-industrial development and food security.
Africa needs a green, clean industrialization that leapfrogs outdated, polluting processes and platforms and benefits from new technologies. Inclusive and sustainable industrialization is a key stepping stone towards sustained economic growth, food security and poverty eradication in Africa.
On the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day, I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to promote Africa’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development to help ensure an economically prosperous and socially integrated continent.