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Statement by Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie at COMESA's 36th Council of Ministers in Antananarivo, Madagascar, 10-12 October 2016

12 Oct, 2016

Honorable Ministers,

Mr. Secretary-General

Distinguished Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to express the gratitude of the african Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for the opportunity to address the august gathering that is  the Council of Ministers of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). My presence here is a testimony of the importance accorded to capacity building in COMESA member States and at the COMESA secretariat.

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 – but also an affirmation of the Region’s resolute commitment to economic consolidation and diversification.

Honorable Ministers, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 As the United Nations Industrial Development Organization puts it, Quote “inclusive and sustainable industrialization means that (1) every country achieves a higher level of industrialization in their economies, and benefits from the globalization of markets for industrial goods and services; (2) no one is left behind in benefiting from industrial growth, and prosperity is shared among women and men in all countries; (3) broader economic and social growth is supported within an environmentally sustainable framework; and (4) unique knowledge and resources are combined of all relevant development actors to maximize the development impact of industrialization.[1]

The good news is that we all understand the importance and relevance of inclusive and sustainable industrialization. Our continental Agenda 2063 highlights the need to implement continental strategies for industrialization in Africa, including the African Union Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA), initiatives to develop agribusinesses, small and medium enterprises and the private sector, regional and commodity value chains, green economies and the productivity agenda for Africa. In addition, Agenda 2030, for which we are also committed to, highlights the necessity to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization in its Goal 9, and COMESA also launched a regional based industrialization policy in 2015, which again is geared towards commodity value addition and skills based industrialization.

Honorable Ministers, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A successful industrialization process will require that a number of challenges are addressed. These challenges have been eloquently discussed during this Summit. They include the declining contribution of industrialization to the Gross National Product (GDP) in many of our countries, pressing climate change issues, the low rate of utilization of productive and management capacity, inter alia, the latter being in my view – and you will not be surprised,  the main missing link in achieving inclusive industrialization. Without the adequate human, institutional and societal capacity, our genuine efforts toward promoting industrial development will not be fruitful. Indeed, the capacities need to be developed or strengthened for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of contextualized industrial policies and strategies. Equally important are the capacities for entrepreneurship and innovation in order to assist the on-going industrialization efforts.

Honorable Ministers, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Another key issue identified as hindering inclusive industrialization in Africa is insufficient regional integration   Integration becomes critical as it provides Africa with an opportunity to share ideas, technology, skills and more importantly, provides a market for the economic development of the region and the continent at large. Regional integration is the “special vehicle” that links Africa with its market within the continent and beyond. An analysis of past trends shows that intra-regional trade though increasing, remains low in Africa compared to other regions of the world.  Standing at 14%[2] in 2014 is far much lower than the 60% for Europe, 40% for North America, and 30% for Asian region. However, it is gratifying to note that lately, over 60%[3] of Africa’s manufactured exports are being absorbed by Africa (with COMESA being a significant contributor) compared to only 12%, absorbed by the rest of the World, indicating the potential for the continent to spur its own growth.

Honorable Ministers, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In view of these considerations, COMESA Member States need to strategically reflect on its key role of regional integration in African development. Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as COMESA, have always been central to Africa’s transformative programs The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) completed this year the second of its  Surveys of  the Capacity Needs of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs).  This Survey re-assesses the capacity needs of eight RECs, including COMESA. The survey identifies critical capacity needs requirements for COMESA which need urgent attention, and these relate to strategic planning, customs and monetary regulations, legal and institutional setup as well as resource mobilization, to mention  a few. ACBF will be working with the COMESA Secretariat for the development and implementation of  a new and comprehensive Capacity Development Programme to address these challenges.This Programme will take into account the lessons learned in ACBF’s recent work on  the capacity required to successfully implement Agenda 2063 – for which industrialization is key – recommends among other actions and initiatives to pay attention to the critical technical skills to be developed as well as the retention and effective utilization of the capacities built.  

Honorable Ministers, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As outlined in its 2017-2021 Strategy adopted by its Board of Governors on 1st July 2016, , ACBF will continue supporting regionally oriented interventions to help move the regional integration in the agenda forward. The Foundation will in particular, in the short term, aim at promoting the following capacity building initiatives: strengthening links between the COMESA Secretariat and member states to boost implementation of activities developed by these entities; and adequately equipping and strengthening COMESA’s research unit to effectively inform the integration process. In the medium term, the Foundation will support COMESA in improving road transport infrastructure in order to ease movement of people and goods within the region; and strengthening member states’ resource mobilization so they can function effectively.

These initiatives will require that the COMESA Secretariat and ACBF join forces in a new and proactive resolution effort your political support, Honorable Ministers, will be critical.

I thank you for your kind attention and, once again, for the opportunity provided to ACBF to address you today.


The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa , ,

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board , ,

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure. 

Hon Ken Ofori Atta – Minister of Finance, Ghana , ,

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi , ,

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.


H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission , ,
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