As part of events marking Africa Industrialization Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support inclusive, resilient and sustainable industrial development in Africa.
In his message, Guterres said that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis hit African economies well before the pandemic spread across the continent. This was reflected in the falling demand for African commodities and products, disruptions in trade and travel, reduced remittances and foreign investment, and vast job and income losses.
He added that the pandemic arrived when prospects for the continent were promising, with economies expanding and poverty in decline.
Technology and innovation were being embraced across the continent, and progress had been made in unity and economic integration. The enforcement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promised a strong boost in intra-African trade.
“In working to realise the objectives of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and by following the roadmaps laid out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063, the response to the COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to redress structural inequalities and vulnerabilities and promote transformative change for more resilient Africa,” he said.