UNIDO warns Nigeria, others against further delay on industrialisation

LI Yong , UNIDO

Commits to ‘One-Africa, One market’

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has warned Nigeria and other African countries not to further delay their economic industrialisation drive, to facilitate an all-inclusive and sustainable growth in the continent.

It said the transformation to an industry-driven African economy should be hastened so that the continent with other partners can jointly fulfill the vision of the “One Africa, One market.”

UNIDO Representative and Regional Director, Jean Bakole, gave the warning yesterday in a joint statement of the African Union Commission (AUC), UNIDO, and UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), to mark the African Industrial Development Day in Abuja.

Bakole said: “With one strong voice and in line with our respective mandates, our organisation calls for renewed and improved action to support inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in Africa.”

He said this year’s theme, “African Industrial Development – a Pre-condition for an Effective and Sustainable Continental Free Trade Area, (CFTA),” placed particular emphasis on the importance of industrialisation for trade in Africa, through enhanced quality production and manufacturing.

He noted that the CFTA is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and a key initiative for industrialisation and economic development in Africa.

He added that the CFTA is capable of bring together 54 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people, and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over $3.4trillion .

In his keynote, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said the Nigerian Government is very much ready to industrialise her economy, because it wants to stop struggling with raw material goods, and to move away from being a dumping ground for finished products.

“Presently, Nigeria needs foreign exchange to buy equipment that will make her fix her economy for rapid industrialisation, she needs to feed her peoples back at home, our country must therefore increase the Africa Free Trade Zone through industrialization, we need to create jobs in the value chain,” he said .

He insisted the time has come for the continent to be victors through industrialisation, noting that what Nigeria is doing is to lead Africa’s industrial growth, hence had put in place the Nigeria Industrial Development Plan.

It also recently launched the Economic Revolution growth Plan (ERGP), just to mention a few so as to actually take the lead.

Also in a message, the UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, said it was unfortunate that industrialisation has not fully contributed to total poverty eradication.

He added that the industrial development of many African nations is not being realised due to market constraints, and other factors such as trade and custom barriers, free access to finance, and the harmonisation of policies at the continental levels.

According to him, for CFTA to reach its potential in empowering African countries, a favorable business environment, including social inclusion, business incentives and adequate industrial policies are necessary.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said government is quite aware that to overcome poverty, and lead the country to prosperity, African countries need to focus on inclusive and productive sector-led growth. This is critical to lifting people out of poverty, and allowing vulnerable communities to benefit from and contribute to the economy.

She said: “A key determinant here is the deepening of Africa’s market integration, and using trade to serve more effectively as an instrument for the attainment of rapid and sustainable socio-economic development.”
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Okechukwu EnelamahUNIDO


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