The African Union this week hosted series of interface sessions with bureaucrats from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Pan African industrialisation frameworks, just as the AU readies to host a high-level validation workshop for its study on financing Africa’s industrialisation agenda on Thursday, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The AU-ECOWAS strategic mission was part of the AU Commission’s flagship activities of engaging with the 8 African Regional Economic Communities (RECs); to fast-track the harmonization of industrialization frameworks by RECs and their consequent mainstreaming by Member States (MS). ECOWAS is one of the 8 the sub regional bodies which constitute the building blocks of the African Economic Community (AEC).
Amongst others, the objectives of the interface sessions was to build a stronger relationship with the RECs so as to ensure an effective industrial policy oversight by the AU Commission’s Department of Trade and Industry (AUC-DTI); provide a platform for the AUC-DTI to effectively engage RECs on continental industrialization initiatives; as well as create a platform for knowledge exchange between the AUC- DTI and RECs on specific industrial policies.
Speaking shortly after the end of the sessions on Wednesday, Rongai Chizema, Chief Technical Advisor cum Head of the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) for the Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA), domiciled at AUC-DTI, said the interface sessions provided a hybrid platform for creating better collaboration between the AU, RECs as well as the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals ( STC-TIM).
“The meetings were aimed at creating better collaboration between the AU and RECs as well as the policymaking organ for industrialisation on the continent i.e the Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals (STC-TIM), the members of whose technical bureau were in attendance at the meeting, and gave us practical understanding of what is happening at the level of Member States. It is a hybrid platform for the AUC to provide update on industrialisation frameworks; the extent of traction and areas of priority, while the RECs provide feedback including areas they need support,” he said.
Chizema, whose unit presides over AUC’s Pan African industrialisation frameworks, added that, in the aftermath of the high-level stakeholders’ validation workshop for the AU-commissioned study on financing Africa’s industrialization – which would be attended by representatives of government, the organised private sector, development partners and civil society – the AU-DTI would upgrade the findings of the study into a Pan African Strategy for Financing Industrialisation.
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