The United Nations Development Industrial Organization (UNIDO), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have identified connection between the seventh Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development (TICAD7), the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), describing them as essential for industrialisation in the continent.
During its official event, ‘Promoting Africa’s structural transformation and economic diversification in the context of AfCFTA/IDDAIII/TICAD7: Partnering for Africa’s future’, UNIDO and its partners focused on tackling the essential aspects related to inclusive and sustainable industrial development based on the principle of African ownership and partnership.
“TICAD has become one of the major forces in support of Africa’s development efforts and, since its inception, UNIDO has been a most trusted partner”, said UNIDO Director General LI Yong.
“The successful implementation of IDDA III is poised to accelerate African industrialization with greater coherence and economies of scale. This will be further facilitated by the AfCFTA, which was ratified on 7 July 2019 and consists of 1.2 billion consumers and a GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion”.
“African ownership and partnership are core TICAD principles,” said Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenji Yamada. “TICAD7 focuses on Africa’s economic transformation with private sector investment and innovation through public-private partnership; the operationalisation of AfCFTA will greatly contribute to this endeavour and will provide important business opportunities for Japanese companies; however, these opportunities can only materialize through concrete industrial policies and practical partnership approaches, for which we also rely on UNIDO”.
“Once operational, AfCFTA will provide greater opportunities for trade and business,” said METI Deputy Director General for Trade, Economic Cooperation Yoichi Watanabe. “The importance of supporting infrastructure and human resource development for the industrial sector must be stressed, as it is an essential element of METI’s support to Japanese companies in Africa, which it undertakes in cooperation with the UNIDO ITPO Office in Tokyo”.
“The AfDB’s vision is fully aligned the principles of TICAD7, the mandate of IDDA III and the aspiration of AfCFTA,” said AfDB’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development Abdu Mukhtar. “When focusing on the structural transformation of Africa, one should support UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) model, one of the drivers of Africa’s inclusive and sustainable industrialization and as such a main implementing tool of IDDA III.”
With business and investment at the centre of TICAD7’s agenda, the high-level panel discussion specifically focused on economic transformation and improvements in business environment through private investment and innovation including private sector-driven industrialization for quality manufacturing and trading within Africa; the promotion of a resilient and sustainable society; and peace and stability as support for Africa’s own proactive efforts.
The event highlighted all the stakeholders’ common aspiration for a successful AfCFTA implementation and reiterated the importance of global partnerships, such as the ones fostered under the auspices of TICAD7 and IDDA III, as engine of growth and job creation.