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A.U. Postpones 2021 Summit on Africa’s Industrialization

Summit on Africa’s Industrialization and Economic Diversification has been postponed and will be convened in 2022. This is according to a statement from the African Union saying updates on the reconvening of the Summit will be provided in due course.

Annually, 20 November is celebrated as Africa Industrialization Day, a day the world set aside to raise awareness about the importance of Africa’s industrialization and the challenges faced by the continent. The theme of this year was “Industrializing Africa: Renewed Commitment Towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification.”

From oil to cocoa, gold to uranium, Africa is rich in natural resources but its heavy dependence on commodity exports means it is yet to take full advantage of the added value that processing raw materials and manufacturing can bring.

Industrial development is of critical importance for sustained and inclusive economic growth in African countries as it can enhance productivity, increase the capabilities of the workforce, and generate employment, by introducing new equipment and new techniques.

Industrialization, with strong linkages to domestic economies, will help African countries achieve high growth rates, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks. This will substantially contribute to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.

Unfortunately, Africa’s industrialisation is geographically limited, with around two-thirds of value-added manufacturing taking place in just five nations: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Underdevelopment of the middle class, low savings, high criminality, corruption, high levels of debt, lack of capital, basic infrastructures and skills are problems that are said to hinder the process of industrialization in Africa.

Some areas of discussion planned at the rescheduled summit included AfCFTA, job creation, regional industrial value chains and a renewed continental policy framework on Africa’s industrialisation aimed at rallying the continent’s resolve and commitment to a bold set of policy and investment actions to accelerate the continent’s industrialisation drive

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