Women Must Be Part of Africa’s Development: Africa Industrialization Day 2015

Women Must Be Part of Africa’s Development: Africa Industrialization Day 2015

Following on from our article discussing Africa Industrialization Day, this article discusses the main concerns and discussions which took place.

“In recent years, many countries in Africa have experienced significant economic growth and progress in human development. However, inclusive and sustainable industrial development remains elusive,”

This quote shows United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon marking Africa Industrialization Day calling for job creation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for women and youth to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable industrial development on the continent. He discussed that the high levels of youth unemployment and gender inequality will hinder Africa’s efforts to eradicate poverty. This is highlighted through the theme of the day which was ‘SMEs for Poverty Eradication and Job Creation for Women and Youth’. This is also recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. General Ban Ki-moon concluded with the important of SMEs and the dedication of the UN:

“I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to enhance Africa’s SME sector and stimulate economic opportunities for women and youth to promote the continent’s progress towards economically enriched, socially inclusive and prosperous societies.” 

There is a worry starting to form as pointed out in The Economist November 7 issue which raises the point that “many African countries are deindustrializing while they are still poor, raising the worrying prospect that they will miss out on the chance to grow rich by shifting workers from farms to higher-paying factory jobs.”

The U.N.’s Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) will publish a major report on industrialization in Africa next month. The African Union has adopted an “Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa.” This is in a bit to ‘catch up’ to other countries after their disappointing decline in manufacturing. Africa’s global share of global manufacturing has fallen from 3% in 1970 to 2% in 2013.

It is clear that there is a huge drive for more Industry in Africa. Ethiopia is striving to bring structural changes to the economy moving away from their dominating agricultural sector. It is estimated that by 2020, 525 million smartphones will be used in Africa, up from 72 million in 2013 and a 3G connection increase from 15% to 52%. There are plans to harness this opportunity as a way of allowing diversification and equality to be closely monitored and more accessible to more people. Diversification and development will not only have to be inclusive but progressive and sustainable. The questions over how this can be done will be discussed at the AIDF Africa Summit 2016 at the UNCC in Ethiopia in February. To find out more go here: http://africa.aidforum.org/

Africa Industrialization Day allowed discussion of important issues of gender equality within the economic sector. This shows a dedication by different actors in Africa to not only want economic development in Africa but to make sure this development is inclusive and gives fair opportunities for all.


Picture: Trainees in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the project known as “Connecting 1,500 Women and Girls to the Export Market,” which helps women and girls to develop skills in industries such as leather, weaving, basketry, embroidery, gemstones, and spinning. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe 

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