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Africa Industrialization Day 20 Nov 2017

The port at Tema, Ghana, June 16, 2006. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst)

The objective of this year’s Africa Industrialization Day is to raise awareness of the importance of African industrial development in implementing a successful Continental Free Trade Area, and therefore further growing Africa’s economy and supporting the eradication of poverty. The event takes into consideration the role that industrialization plays in enhancing market competitiveness, and elaborates on the necessary steps to be taken in order for African countries to realize their potential.

Within the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1991-2000), the United Nations General Assembly, in 1989, proclaimed 20 November “Africa Industrialization Day”  (A/RES/44/237). Since then, the United Nations System has held events on that day throughout the world to raise awareness about the importance of Africa’s industrialization and the challenges faced by the continent.

The “African Industrial Development: A Pre-Condition for an Effective and Sustainable Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)”

The Panel discussions on 20 November 2017 in Vienna (Austria) and New York (USA) organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to:

  • increase awareness of the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Africa for the success of the CFTA and structural transformation more broadly;
  • present recommendations for relevant policies, strategies and regulations to develop industrial policy in coordination with free trade agreements as a principal mechanism to eradicate poverty;
  • increase awareness of the CFTA and issues surrounding its implementation.

African Industrialization Day 2017 Concept Note

Africa Industrialization Day 2017 – Concept Note

UN Secretary-General’s Message for 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.

António Guterres

Participants and attendees, such as Friends of the African Union,  include high-level representatives of African States and other regions, in addition to key stakeholders from the private sector, academia, and development practice. All were invited.



Joint Statement of the African Union Commision, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

(The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states following a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly.)


United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Africa


The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 is a special project within the framework of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness and Risks Team. It is the result of collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/
the World Bank, and the African Development Bank.



The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva. The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 23-26 January 2018
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world. The programme, initiatives and projects of the meeting are focused on Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World. By coming together at the start of the year, we can shape the future by joining this unparalleled global effort in co-design, co-creation and collaboration. The programme’s depth and breadth make it a true summit of summits.


Akinwumi Adesina
President, African Development Bank Group

Jim Yong Kim
President, World Bank Group

Klaus Schwab
Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

The 2017 edition of The Africa Competitiveness Report comes out at a challenging time for the continent. In recent years, growth in several African countries has been subdued after more than a decade of solid expansion. The slowdown is largely due to the protracted low commodity prices as well as the reduced growth in emerging markets such as China, and in advanced economies. However, this situation has also given impetus to reforms and economic diversification. The strong
economic performance of a number of African countries demonstrates Africa’s resilience and brings optimism about Africa’s future growth prospects.

Looking ahead, the continent’s young and increasing population presents an unprecedented opportunity to spur rapid development. A growing labor force and a large and emerging consumer market hold the promise of significant growth opportunities. Yet challenges to reaping these potential gains and achieving greater shared prosperity remain. Most economies in the region still need to promote more productive activities that generate quality employment opportunities for
their growing populations and contribute to improving the livelihoods of African people. Africa can make this happen, and decisions and actions taken today will determine whether governments and the private sector in the region can meet the growing economic and social aspirations of its population.

Published on a biennial basis, The Africa Competitiveness Report highlights areas requiring policy action and investment to ensure that Africa lays a solid foundation for sustained and inclusive growth. The Report, which is the result of a longstanding collaboration, leverages the knowledge and expertise of the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group, and the World Economic Forum to present a joint policy vision that can help Africa transform its economies.

By conducting a comprehensive analysis of Africa’s most pressing competitiveness challenges, the Report discusses the barriers and challenges to putting Africa’s economies onto a solid footing and helping them to achieve sustainable, broadbased growth, taking into account rapid demographic
changes. Africa’s working-age population is expected to soarby 450 million people, or close to 70 percent, by 2035. The Report examines how this population growth can either help to achieve broader shared prosperity and improve the livelihood of African people or become a source of fragility, social tension, and economic hardships. It does so by examining the potential
of Africa’s fast-growing youth population to catalyze economic development through accelerating rates of job creation. It also discusses the potential of cities to transform, strengthen, and
diversify Africa’s economies by creating more dynamic urban manufacturing and service sectors.

The Report emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the youth of today and tomorrow possess the skills they need to build vibrant and inclusive economies. It further delivers detailed competitiveness profiles for 35 African countries, and provides a comprehensive summary of the drivers of productivity and competitiveness within the continent. We hope that this year’s Report will stimulate discussion among development stakeholders to bring about sustained growth and shared prosperity in Africa. Well-targeted investments in physical and human capital will be key factors that need to be further reinforced by a sound institutional framework and an enabling business environment.

Businesses can advocate for reforms that enhance firm productivity and engage in a dialogue with policymakers about the type of reforms required for firms to prosper. Governments can ensure
sustained investments in infrastructure, health, and education; provide the legal and regulatory framework for a sound business environment for trade and investment; and, most importantly, ensure that policies and their implementation are consistent across time and national boundaries.
Africa’s growing young population offers the prospect of transforming the continent. The analysis in the 2017 Africa Competitiveness Report aims to contribute toward seizing this opportunity for Africa’s current and future generations.