YAOUNDE, (The Southern African Times) – Industrialisation remains a key priority for the Central African sub-region despite the adverse consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) sub-regional office said on Monday.
Antonio Pedro, director of the ECA Sub-regional Office for Central Africa said the bloc has made some economic breakthroughs but needed to boost its industrialization progress.
“Central Africa’s path to sustained development passes through industrialization. COVID-19 has revealed how dependent this region is on the import of essential goods such as food products as well as pharmaceutical products. The only way forward therefore is to produce and consume locally and this is done through industrialization,” Pedro told Xinhua in an interview by phone as African Finance Ministers began meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to chart a way forward for Africa’s industrialization and diversification agenda in the digital area amid COVID-19.
He said, quality projects, public-private partnership, dialogue and policy coherence are key to successful industrialization in the region.
“Financing can be reduced if we have quality projects and bankable projects. The region has the necessary endowments including renewable energy to pursue industrialization. Exploring these endowments therefore becomes a priority within the context of climate-friendly transition,” Pedro added.
Countries should speed up the formulation and implementation of their national African Continental Free Trade Area strategies in a bid to benefit from advantages that will propel them to industrialization, he said.