Executive Secretary's Corner
The twelfth Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union (AU), held on 4-8 July 2019 in Niamey, launched the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is the largest free trade area on earth encompassing all countries of the continent.
Africa has set itself a target of being an integrated, peaceful and prosperous continent by 2063. Intra-Africa trade can play a critical role in achieving the continental agenda.
Youth unemployment has scourged the African continent, with rates for Sub-Saharan and North Africa as of 2016 being 13 percent and 30.5 percent, respectively.
That Africa is a well endowed region of the world, a continent said to have a ‘golden hand,’ is a fact. But that our continent is not fully taking advantage of its weight and worth in gold, to transform itself and be the development wonder of the world, is an major issue to ponder.
Perceptions about Africa have changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Terms such as ‘Africa rising’, ‘hopeful continent’, ‘second fastest growing region’, etc. have been used to describe the economic growth performance achieved by the continent.
Let me begin by stating that there is consensus among development practitioners that capacity underpins the success or failure of economic transformation.
The importance of industrialization to Africa’s development cannot be overemphasized. In fact, Industrialization has been on Africa’s Development Agenda since the early eighties.
The theme of this year’s Summit, “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization” is not only a demonstration of the progress already achieved in the COMESA Region -, progress that has seen the Region successfully fight poverty and put itself on the path to sustainable development
Africa rightly has big ambitions for the future. Our continent is rich in both natural and human resources. We have a talented and energetic young population which, with the right support, can be a powerful motor for prosperity and progress.