The African Union Summit on Industrialization, Economic Diversification and the African Union Extraordinary Session on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), alongside the commemoration of the 2022 Africa Industrialization Week (AIW2022), are set to be held November 20 – 25 in Niamey, Niger.
AIW 2022 is billed to officially kick-off with an opening session in commemoration of the African Industrialization Day (AID) on November 20, which will be followed by various in-person and virtual sessions including an ordinary session of the Executive Council on November 23 and climax with the Extraordinary Summit of the AU Heads of State and Government on Industrialization and Economic Diversification; and an Extraordinary Session on the AfCFTA on November 25.
Themed: “Industrializing Africa: Renewed Commitment towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification,” AIW2022 is being organized by the AU Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Trade Centre (ITC), among others.
It will be recalled that the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), held February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, mandated the AU Commission and partners to organize a Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in November 2020. However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the organizing partners had to postpone the Summit, initially to November 2021, and subsequently, November 2022.
The AU Commission says the industrialization and AfCFTA summits are a testament to Africa’s renewed determination and high-level political resolve to accelerate industrialization, alongside the AfCFTA’s implementation, as crucial pathways to actualizing the goals of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is hoped the summits would provide the desired political momentum, resources, partnerships and alliances to boost the continent’s inclusive industrialization drive.
AIW2022 organizing partners are hosting side-events focused on cross-cutting issues, namely the AfCFTA, climate change, energy security, amongst others. To this end, the ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) is hosting a side-event themed: “Harnessing the AfCFTA for Africa’s industrialization: Fostering competitiveness and sustainability in the digital era” focused on green finance, financing industrialization, digital trade, and how they strengthen each other for a successful AfCFTA implementation.
The event will offer policy options for integrating green finance as well as an in-depth understanding of the role of digitalization in deepening intra-African trade. Accordingly, ECA hopes policymakers will see the benefit of digital trade in deepening intra-African trade and the AfCFTA, as well as understanding the importance of creating an enabling environment for selected green investments that diminish greenhouse gas emissions and build economic resilience through diversification.
Among others, the summits’ desired outcomes are a decision for a broad-based consultation towards an up-to-date, implementable and results-based Africa-Industrialisation Policy Framework, embracing gains and lessons from the continent’s experiences. Moreover, the summits seek to foster a compact between African governments, the private sector, academia and the civil society for aligned policy decisions, financing, institutional and human capital for Africa’s industrialisation.
Since the proclamation of November 20 as Africa Industrialization Day (AID) at the 25th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU), in 1989, the Day has been commemorated every year. In 2018, the AU expanded AID celebration to a weeklong AIW event, which was commemorated virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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