In a collaborative effort to foster sustainable industrial development across Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are gearing up to host the much-anticipated 2023 African Economic Conference.
The event is scheduled to take place from November 16 to 18 in the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference will convene an impressive array of participants, including African ministers, United Nations partners, leading development experts, and key players from the private sector.
These stakeholders will gather at the prestigious UN Conference Centre to deliberate on the formidable challenges and untapped opportunities associated with catalyzing green and sustainable industrialization initiatives across the African continent.
The significance of this conference is underscored by the stark realities revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It laid bare the vulnerabilities of African industries and their heavy reliance on foreign manufacturers, particularly for essential medical supplies and medications.
Furthermore, the pandemic accentuated Africa’s limited integration into global supply chains, necessitating urgent action and collaborative solutions.
The overarching objective of the 2023 African Economic Conference is to explore multifaceted strategies that could enhance Africa’s economic resilience and self-sufficiency. Among the focal areas for discussion are:
1. Integration into Global Value Chains: The conference will delve into ways African nations can strategically integrate themselves into global value chains, reducing their dependence on external sources and enhancing local production capabilities.
2. Financing Green Businesses: Sustainable industrial development will require substantial financial investments. Experts and policymakers will explore mechanisms to facilitate access to financing for environmentally responsible businesses.
3. Public-Private Partnerships: Building strong partnerships between the public and private sectors will be a key focus. These collaborations can drive innovation, accelerate economic growth, and create jobs.
4. Expanding Internal Markets: The conference will discuss strategies to expand internal markets, ensuring that African nations are better equipped to meet their basic needs and reduce reliance on external suppliers.
One distinctive feature of this year’s conference is the inclusion of young researchers who will present innovative, solution-oriented research to policymakers.
Since its inception in 2006, the African Economic Conference has provided a platform for expert dialogues and knowledge sharing on emerging economic issues affecting Africa. This year’s theme, “Imperatives for Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa,” reflects a commitment to exploring strategies to bolster sustainable industrialization efforts across the continent.
The previous editions of this conference have consistently emphasized the importance of adapting international policies and building local capacity to effectively respond to Africa’s unique challenges and opportunities. In 2023, the conversation will be geared towards formulating actionable strategies that can drive sustainable industrial development in Africa.
As the conference prepares to kick off, expectations are high for robust discussions, policy recommendations, and the forging of partnerships that will pave the way for a more resilient and self-reliant African industrial landscape.