Africa Industrialisation Day 2017
Statement by UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock at event in observance of Africa Industrialisation Day 2017
I am glad to be here with you this morning to commemorate Africa Industrialisation Day.
I have the honour to share with you Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for Africa Industrialisation Day 2017, and I quote:
Message on Africa Industrialisation Day
20 November 2017
“Industrialization is a primary driver of economic growth and job creation, and will be pivotal in efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.
“This year’s Africa Industrialization Day highlights the links between industrial development and Africa’s moves towards establishing a Continental Free Trade Area.
“These are mutually supportive endeavours. Strategic investments in cross-border infrastructure will advance both trade and industrial capacity. Promoting green technologies and low-carbon solutions can create compelling opportunities for increased commerce and industrialization alike.
“Small and medium enterprises, which already contribute 80 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product and support 90 per cent of all jobs, will remain key actors. Governments, business and civil society will need to forge partnerships to spur innovation and create incentives to power sustainable growth.
“It will also be critical to unleash the capacities of Africa’s young people and to strengthen African institutions. Both the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 recognize these imperatives.
“On Africa Industrialization Day, I reaffirm the continued strong commitment of the United Nations to support Africa’s industrialization, the implementation of a continental free trade agreement, and the building of inclusive, resilient, peaceful and prosperous societies for all.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I appreciate this opportunity to join with you in raising awareness of the importance of industrial diversification in transforming Ghana’s economy and accelerating new job opportunities for young people.
As pointed out by the Secretary-General in his message for today, the 2030 Agenda and the Agenda 2063 set high ambitions. The Sustainable Development Goals present a unified agenda for social, economic and environmental development, premised on the principles to reach the furthest behind first, to realise gender equality, and to leave no one behind.
It is important to remember that the Agenda 2030 goes far beyond the Millennium Development Goals, which focused on reducing extreme poverty and meeting fundamental social goals for education, health, nutrition, and water and sanitation.
The Agenda 2030 builds on that success, and commits to completing unfinished business, but explicitly recognizes the centrality of thriving economies to reducing poverty and building more inclusive societies.
Thus Prosperity, and the aim to modernise agriculture, diversify industry, and boost decent work, is one of the five mutually supportive components of the Agenda 2030, along with:
- People, and the aim to end poverty and hunger and ensure dignity and equality,
- Planet, and the aim to protect our natural resources and climate for future generations,
- Peace, working toward just and inclusive societies,
- and to accomplish all this through Partnerships – public and private sector, all segments of society, all levels of government, and between countries.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) translate these core values and principles into concrete and measurable results.
The central goal in terms of industrialisation is SDG 9, which aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation, increase productivity of small enterprises, and foster innovation.
These are key drivers of economic growth and development. And for industrialization to generate good jobs, then the policies and institutions on education, Goal 4, must anticipate what skills will be needed and prepare young people for them. New, non-traditional jobs in engineering, management, machining, design, etc., need to provide opportunities for young women as well as for young men, in order to meet Goal 5 on gender equality. Only if investments in physical and financial capital link up to investments in human capital will we be able to meet Goal 8 on decent work for all Ghanaians, and thus ensure that industrial growth is also inclusive growth.
In turn, rapid industrialization depends on progress towards other Sustainable Development Goals, such as expanding availability of electricity, Goal 7, modernizing agriculture, Goal 2, and sustainably developing forests and other natural resources, Goal 15. And the focus of our discussion today, on linking trade and industrialization, is recognized in Goal 17 on Partnerships, which explicitly commits to increasing exports of developing countries.
So the 17 goals do not stand alone. They are links in a chain, from where we are to where we want to go, to where Ghana wants to go, and if any link in the chain is missing, we will not get there.
Business growth requires a sustainable, welcoming environment for investment, which includes not only costs of capital and fair tax regimes, but also a level playing field for all, free of corruption,
Expediting industrialization today must not come at the cost of making it more difficult for your grandchildren to also sensibly exploit the mineral, forest, and fish resources of Ghana to meet their needs. That’s what is meant by sustainable development.
In closing, I would like to join the Secretary-General in his affirmation of the continued commitment of the United Nations to support Africa’s industrialization and greater regional economic integration. We appreciate the determination of Development Partners to prioritize and invest more in financing industrialization in Africa, as part of the transition from partnerships based on aid to partnerships based on trade.
I would like to thank our new UNIDO Representative, Mr. Fakhruddin Azizi, and his team for leading the UN’s support for industrial advancement in Ghana, working with the ILO, FAO and UNDP among other UN agencies.
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how more open trade across the Continent can accelerate industrial development and contribute to effective regional integration that supports the security and social goals as well as the economic growth aspirations, of the community of African nations.