Former Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano in discussion with former Tanzanian Presidents H.E. Ali Hassan Mwinyi and H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa during the 4th Forum For Former African Heads of State and Government(Africa Forum) held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA) Conference centre in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The Two Days forum(2-3 April 2016) has been sponsored by UNECA.
Former Tanzanian President H.E.Benjamin William Mkapa in conversation with former Malawian President H.E.Bakili Muluzi in Addis Ababa.(photo courtesy of Tanzania Embassy in Addis Ababa Ethiopia).
Sound economic policies geared at propelling African countries into industrialization coupled with properly trained young workforce could make the continent more prosperous lifting millions of Africans out of poverty.
The United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Dr. Carlos Lopes said this during the opening session of the 4th General Assembly of the forum for Former African Heads of State and Government (Africa Forum) held at UNECA Conference Centre in Addis Ababa today.
The two days General Assembly of the Forum for Former Heads of State and Governmen(2-3April 2016) has been sponsored by The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa UNECA.“
African countries need to undertake economic structural transformation geared towards industrialization,” adding that recent growth of economies in most African countries was a result of increase export of raw commodities to industrialized countries.
Dr. Lopes said that manufacturing in most African countries has been going down significantly in the past decade despite doubling of GDP in the same countries as a result of increase of export of raw commodities and that there has been an increase in internal consumption of imports.
The UNECA Executive Secretary outlined some challenges the continent is facing towards industrialization including patenting and protection by the industrialized countries of their intellectual property rights in commodity production, complex trade regimes in global market, inadequate technology and stiff competition.
Dr.Lopes, however, said the there is a great hope for Africa to industrialize by embarking upon the production and proper utilization of renewable energies to process raw commodities(Agro processing) in various countries creating job opportunities to most young people in Africa.
He further said that countries should formulate sound economic policies aimed at encouraging the population to consume what is produced locally to boost local industries and that commodity based industrialization is capable of creating between five to seven million jobs annually in Africa reducing tremendously youth unemployment in the continent.
Dr. Lopes said that proper and appropriate technology should be adopted in various African countries to curb low productivity and boost storage capacity to prevent post harvest loses which is a common feature in most African countries that subsequently trigger food insecurity in the advent of bad weather.
In her remarks during the same occasion, The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr.Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma emphasized the need for African countries to take a seriously a move to review their academic curricula so as to equip the young generation with relevant skills to fit into modern production processes adding that emphasis should be placed on science subjects and vocational training.
Dr.Zuma reiterated the need for African countries to speed up the process of integration through the promotion of intra-African trade and tourism and simplify procedure on cross border movements so that young people could travel freely in the continent in search for jobs other economic ventures.
The AUC Chairperson further emphasized the need for African countries to mobilize domestic resources to fund various local development projects and reduce donor dependence and that the focus should be placed on building infrastructures including roads and railways to connect African countries and boost intra African trade and labor movements.
The 4th General Assembly of Former Heads of State and Governments will among other things exchange views on the Economic partnership Agreement, and the issue of illicitly financial flows and their development impact, as well as Africa’s development Agenda 2063.
Former Heads of State attending the Africa Forum include Tanzania’s former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin William Mkapa, Malawi’s former President Bakili Muluzi, Namibia’s former President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba, Nigeria’s former President General Jackob Gowon, South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Mozambique’s former president Joaquim Alberto Chissano who is also the chair of the forum.
The Africa Forum Constitutes an informal network of former African Heads of State and Government and other African Leaders designed to support the implementation of the broad objectives of the African Union(AU) and its initiative, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development(NEPAD), at the national, Sub regional and Regional levels. With the specific functions of advocacy and think tanking, the Arica Forum will help to harness the experience, moral authority and good offices of former African Heads of State and Government and African Leaders with the view to assisting the advancement of Africa’s Social and Economic Development.
From Tanzania Embassy information Department Addis Ababa Ethiopia