17 November 2009

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"There is Great Industrial Potential in the Emergence of a New, Green Economic Paradigm"

Message on Africa Industrialization Day, 20 November 2009

VIENNA, 17 November (UN Information Service) - The African economy, like the rest of the world economy, continues to feel the impact of the global economic and financial crisis. UN figures indicate that the world economy is poised for recovery, but for Africa to benefit the continent must focus on industrialization as a critical engine of economic growth and development.

The theme of this year's Africa Industrialization Day, "Industrialization for integration", highlights the interplay between the two. Industrialization will help Africa increase its share of global output and trade, and become more fully and meaningfully a part of the global economy. But integration itself will help Africa industrialize, since African economies need improved access to global markets if its industries are to be competitive. Greater integration of regional markets on the continent itself can also foster industrial development by making it easier to produce at economic scale.

The past few years of economic growth in Africa have been encouraging. But if the transformation of African economies is to be sustained, increased industrialization is necessary. The African Union Plan of Action for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa outlines a clear set of programmes, projects and activities to stimulate a competitive and sustainable industrial development process. But Africa's pursuit of industrialization is hindered by many challenges, including armed conflict, inadequate infrastructure, weak governance and institutions, limited financing and technological capabilities, and domestic policies that stifle entrepreneurship, limit competition and raise the cost of doing business.

Efforts to address these challenges must be rooted in a shared global responsibility for our planet's prosperity. We know what is needed, including a green agricultural revolution linked to industrial transformation. Indeed, there is great industrial potential in the emergence of a new, green economic paradigm.

African leaders must provide a supportive regulatory and financial framework for such changes to gain strength. The international community must work with African governments and institutions to do the research, make the investments and deploy the technologies for a climate-resilient, low-carbon growth path, one that will feed Africa's growing population and raise living standards by building the industries of the future. Industrialization can drive positive social change.

On this African Industrialization Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to industrialization, integration and the continent's efforts to use the two to create a more prosperous future.

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