The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to “inclusive, resilient and sustainable” industrialisation in Africa.
Mr Guterres gave the assurance in his message to mark the 2020 African Industrialisation Day with the theme, “Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in the AfCFTA era”.
Commemorated annually on November 20, the event offers African governments and organisations an opportunity to examine ways of stimulating industrialisation on the continent.
It is also an occasion to draw the attention of the international community to problems and challenges of industrial development in Africa.
Decrying the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the continent, the UN Chief said the health crisis struck when “prospects for the continent were promising.”
“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.
“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 (AfCFTA) promised a strong boost in intra-African trade,” he said.
Mr Guterres emphasised that the response to the pandemic was an opportunity to address “structural inequalities and vulnerabilities” and promote transformative change for a more resilient Africa.
This, according to him, is critical to realisation of the objectives of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
He underscored the need for COVID-19 response plans in the continent to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
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