UN Economic agency to help accelerate industrialisation efforts by African states

Bannice Waithira a staff at Toto and Scie factory in Sagana. [File, Standard]

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says it is streamlining its operations to support member states accelerate industrialization and economic diversification which are key to Africa's development.

ECA Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro, said the ECA is working on delivering on its mandate to foster regional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

"Our countries need adequate financing, sufficient energy, the right infrastructure mix, agricultural and food systems that are resilient to external shocks and climate mitigation measures that reduce the impact of climate change," Mr Pedro said.

The ECA is one of the five regional arms of the United Nations. It held the Fourth Quarter annual Accountability and Programme Performance Review meeting (APPRM) in December 2022 during which ECA took stock of its performance and deliverance on its program of work.

The APPRM held under the theme, Setting the Scene for Enhanced Performance Review, highlighted major achievements of the ECA in delivering impactful programs while enhancing the capacity of member states to accelerate economic transformation through the formulation and implementation of effective policies in trade and development programmes.

The APPRM collectively agreed on the centrality of sustainable industrialization and economic diversification for prosperity in Africa. Mr. Pedro emphasized that the ECA needs to start 2023 with research and policy focus areas that will support member states accelerate the process of industrialisation and economic diversification.

Mr Pedro said despite the Covid-19 pandemic at the onset of 2022 and the triple crises of food, finance, and climate change, African countries have demonstrated resilience.

The crises, he observed, offered unprecedented opportunities to change the current narrative and deliver prosperity for the African continent which remains at the center of major global transitions.

Green and blue bonds, debt-for-climate investment swaps, and carbon credits however offer unique opportunities to raise necessary resources for development in Africa, Mr Pedro said.

He said the launch of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) at COP27 was a proud achievement for Africa.

The Initiative seeks to produce 300 million carbon credits annually, which translates into unlocking $6 billion in revenue and will create 30 million jobs by 2030.

"A just energy transition remains an imperative for the continent and universal access to electricity and sustainable industrialization is a sine qua non for economic transformation," he said citing the value addition of minerals as an avenue for resource mobilization.

Through internal and external partnerships, ECA says it has delivered timely and cost-effective projects through its Sub Regional Offices (SROs) in North, West, Central, East, and Southern Africa.

According to ECA, the SROs have been instrumental in programs on the cross-cutting issues of poverty alleviation, climate change, the green economy, digitization, gender equality, data, statistics, trade, and finance.

In her closing remarks at the APPRM, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, Hanan Morsy called for deepening internal collaboration and enhanced communication, advocacy, and assistance to Member States for the furthest reach and the highest impact.

Some of the ECA's major achievements during the year under review included the launch of the ECA Young Economist Network and the training of more than 6,000 young women and girls through the Connected African Girl Coding Camp.

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