By Staff Reporter

Niamey (Niger), November 8, 2022 – The Director of the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Ngone Diop, attended on Monday in Niamey, the opening ceremony of the meeting of Ministers of Industry and Economic Diversification of the African Union (AU) as a prelude to the Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union (AU) which will be held in Niamey, Niger, from November 20 to 25, 2022.

This meeting aims at identifying the obstacles to the industrialization of the Continent as well as the levers allowing to stimulate the industrialization processes in order to propose to the Heads of State and Government, concrete solutions in line with the African Industrial Development Plan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister of Niger, Mr. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, said that “the summit to be held on November 25 aims to underscore Africa’s determination and renewed commitment to industrialization as one of the central pillars for the achievement of the continent’s economic growth and development objectives, as set out in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030’’.

Thus, added the Head of Government of Niger, “these solutions should allow us to put an end to the paradox that characterizes Africa, namely a continent that has significant human capacity and abundant natural resources on which should be built a strong, competitive and sustainable industry and which unfortunately lags behind in comparison with other continents”.

The Minister of Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship of Niger, Ms. Gourouza Magagi Salamatou, said that “Africa has not benefited from the massive industrialization that began in the early 1980s, marked by several changes in the global economic order”.

But, she added, “we are all aware of the need to accelerate our industrialization processes” before recognizing that “the abundance of natural resources does not systematically mean growth and development, so we must go beyond the narrowness of our markets to think in terms of regional value chains, hence the fundamental link between our industrialization policies and the implementation of our free trade area, because it is necessary to produce in order to trade’’.

The Director of the Subregional Office for West Africa of ECA, Ngone Diop, said that “With the adoption and entry into force of the Agreement Establishing African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Africa is presented with ample opportunities to industrialize. But we need to seize these opportunities, we therefore need to seize such opportunities by putting in place the required conditions to hastening the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement with a single-minded focus on industrialization”.

According to Ngone Diop, ” An Africa that increasingly trades with itself in a diverse range of products is an Africa that can withstand external shocks and resile from them with relatively less impact when they happen’’.

“Industrialization is not an option for Africa, it is an imperative,” said the Director of the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of ECA’’.

This meeting takes place after the meeting of senior officials of the Ministries in charge of industry and those in charge of economic development held last November 3 and 4 in Niamey.