Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you today as we focus attention on Africa’s industrial and socio-economic development.
I am encouraged by the presence of so many high-level representatives from both the public and private sectors.
This year’s event comes when Africa’s economic growth is beginning to recover after the decline witnessed in 2016.
Real output growth is estimated to have increased by 3.6 percent in 2017, up from 2.2 percent in 2016, and is poised to accelerate to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019.
This is indeed welcome news and a reflection of the continent’s strong potential.
However, despite this positive economic growth, challenges remain for the achievement of meaningful inclusive and sustainable industrial development for Africa.
The diversification of African economies through value addition is essential for sustainable growth, market resilience and withstanding economic shocks.
To that end, we welcome the launch this year of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
This will constitute the world’s largest free trade area in terms of membership and will also create a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of over 2.5 trillion dollars, which is expected to double by 2050.
Sustainable industrialization is key to the success of the Free Trade Area, with an emphasis on inclusive development that harnesses the energy, drive, creativity and skills of women and youth.
Within the framework of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, commendable efforts are being undertaken by different stakeholders, including within the United Nations.
We have a roadmap for its implementation that will form the basis for joint programmes between UN agencies and key stakeholders.
This and other achievements are captured in the progress report on the Decade that will be presented to the General Assembly.
Going forward, I would like to highlight five areas for special attention.
First, congruency between alignment and cohesive regional and industrial policies. Trade and industry policies that talk to each other are much more likely to yield positive results than those implemented in isolation.
Second, enhanced focus to investments on infrastructure development. This includes special economic zones and industrial parks; roads; ports; harbours; energy infrastructure; information and communication technologies and digital infrastructure.
Third, enhanced value addition local contacts, with a focus on agriculture and other natural resources. As the mainstay of most African countries, these hold the key for accelerated sustainable growth, diversification and job creation.
Fourth, is trade capacity building to facilitate fuller participation in regional and global value chains. Being at the table needs muscle capacity to engage and negotiate the best deals for your country.
And fifth is human capital development and technology with a focus on women and youth to ensure inclusive development.
It is also clear that the agendas set out in the Industrial Development Decade and the African Continental Free Trade Area cannot be achieved by any single entity or country.
There is need to build and strengthen partnerships among all relevant stakeholders.
Finally creating a space for these partnerships to focus on five areas mentioned and addition, encouraging technology transfer, building productive capacity, creating jobs, promoting international trade, supporting economic diversification, and building green industries.
Creative and innovative approaches must continue to be deployed to mobilize both financial and non-financial resources.
Maximizing financing for development means a number of things.
We must mobilize domestic resources alongside international financial resources.
We need to harness the role of the private sector in financing development.
And we must maximize the use of innovative financing sources and mechanisms including pension funds, insurance and other large pools of private capital.
To do this, it is vital that we share experiences and lessons among countries.
We also need to leverage and deepen strategic North-South; South-South and Triangular cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations, I reaffirm our continued strong commitment and action to sustainable development on the continent and ensuring an inclusive, resilient, and secure future, for all Africans.
I wish you a productive meeting.