H.E. Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals
The African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities and partners are to convene an extraordinary session of the assembly Of the Heads of State and Government on industrialization, economic diversification and on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and also observe an African industrialization week in the month of November 2022 under the theme “Industrializing Africa, renewed commitment towards inclusive and sustainable industrialization and the economic diversification”.
These the Continent’s leaders are of the firm believe will give a strong political voice to the continent’s industrialization agenda.
Speaking to a gathering of Trade and Trade Law experts at the 2022 Trade Law Center (tralac)Annual Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, H.E. Albert Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals emphasized that Africa needs to fully implement strong industrialization policies first, because the continent is succeeding in creating a rare giant single Market, i.e., the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“In this market, demand for manufactured goods and agro- processed goods is 1.5 times more than global average” Commissioner Muchanga revealed.
He said another most important reasons Africa cannot compromise Industrialization is the continent’s rich endowments of resources such as minerals, water, land and a young population which form the bedrock of support to the continent’s industrialization drive.
“The times ahead are to develop industrial skills, promoting research and development as well as the made in Africa standard of goods and services which marks of Africa’s industrial excellence”.
He emphasized that the development of Regional and Continental value chain will be key to Africa’s Industrialization agenda.
“A Recent study by the International Trade Center indicates that Africa has 415 regional value chains that are ready to be used in production to supply the market of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) with industrial and agro-processed goods”.
Global Crises: COVID-19 Rusia-Ukraine War, Climate Change
The Africa Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals bemoaned the level of Africa’s dependence on importation from other continents which has particularly and conspicuously been exposed by recent global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Rusia-Ukraine war.
“It is sad to know that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, Africa was importing 90% of our medicines. In some cases, those that manufactured the vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic were not willing to sell them to Africa”. The AU Commissioner lamented.
He said the pandemic reminded the continent that Africa need to build resilient health and economic systems.
“There is no doubt, another new pandemic will confront us in the near future. When this occurs, Africa must stand on our feet and fight it timely and effectively”.
“We have been assured that Africa has reached 22% of vaccinations of our population. This is very wrong when you compare it to over 80% of vaccination of populations in other parts of the world”.
He said the above and many examples including weaker global demand for commodities and supply chain disruptions have constraint Africa’s production capacities, however accelerating Africa’s productive transformation and instilling a policy priority in the continent’s economic recovery effort will be essential as the continent forges ahead even in the midst of other threats such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict which is undoubtedly having effect on the continent, devastating impact on climate change and food and energy prices and the possibility of a global recession.
Customs Union or Common Market
H.E. Albert Muchanga explained that several regions and countries around the world are seeking to have free agreements with Africa which has encouraged the AU commission to undertake a study to assess Africa’s readiness to move to a customs union or common market.
“It’s time to inform Africans on the way forward in deepening Africa’s integration with the rest of the world based on an external common tariff”. “Without which, the African Continental Free Trade area will face the dangers of trade reflection and consequently the industrialization”
He said the AUC is thus also commissioning a study in its partnership with African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) on positioning Africa to increase its share of global trade anchored on manufactured agro-processed goods as well as services.
Support and Contributions:
H.E. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals expressed appreciation and acknowledgment over the contributions of continental and Global Think-tanks and academic institutions such as the Trade Law Center (tralac) towards enriching the knowledge and information sharing base on developing strong Industrial base for Africa and appealed for continues support and partnership in that direction as the continent creates a single largest continental market with a robust industrial outlook.
By: Samuel Agyemang
Source: Single African Market Network