Posted by: APO | 20 November 2007

Joint Statement AU/UN On the occasion of the Africa Industrialisation Day

Technology and Innovation for Industry:

Investing in People is Investing in the Future



Joint Statement



Mr. Alpha Oumar Konare


Africa Union Commission



Mr. Abdoulie Janneh

Under Secretary General &

Executive Secretary

UN Economic Commision for Africa



Mr. Kandeh Yumkella


United Nations Industrial Development Organization



On the occasion of the

Africa Industrialisation Day

20 November 2007




20 November 2007




Today, as in previous years, the celebration of the African Industrialization Day is an occasion for each African country to reflect on progress made and to renew efforts towards achieving sustainable industrial development. At the global level, it is an occasion for the United Nations family and the international community to reaffirm their commitment to Africa’s accelerated economic transformation..


In today’s knowledge-driven economies, the achievement of sustainable and accelerated

growth involves the interplay and integration of science, technology and innovation in

development strategies. It is thus apt that the Assembly of the African Union at its Eight

Ordinary Session in January 2007 declared 2007 as the year of science, technology and

innovation. In consonance with that Declaration, the theme of today’s celebration is:

“technology and innovation for industry – investing in people is investing in the future”.

The theme aims to high-light the need for African countries to harness the benefits of

modern science to meet the various socio-economic, cultural and environmental

challenges they face.


Africa has witnessed improved growth in recent years – averaging 5.5 per cent per

annum. Its development prospects have never been brighter. Nevertheless, poverty

remains a serious challenge. This is because growth alone is not sufficient to propel

broad-based development. For growth to be translated into sustained poverty

reduction, greater attention needs to be placed on the quality of growth, its sustainability

and spread. In this context, greater access to, acquisition and application of science,

technology and innovation are critical for African countries to raise the quality of their

human capital and consequently, enhance pro-poor growth.


The theme of today’s celebration is a clarion call for a reorientation of policies and strategies in support of science, technology and innovation in all African countries. Africa, like the South East Asian region, needs to mobilise science, technology and innovation to meet its development challenges and for making progress towards the MDGs. Food insecurity, illiteracy, energy shortages, inadequate shelter, diseases (including HIV and AIDS), environmental degradation, among others, can be effectively addressed through harnessing the opportunities which science, technology and innovation offer.


However, it has to be acknowledged that in any given environment, it takes time to instill a culture of science and technology. The first step must be to build up a critical mass of indigenous capacity in sciences including material sciences, in related fields such as biotechnology, engineering, medicine, post harvest technologies, information, communication and technology, and others.


We therefore call on African countries to take a closer look at their relevant policies and strategies, and to mainstream science and technology into their national and sectoral plans and priorities. Science & Technology (S&T) institutions need to be revitalized and S&T promoted and popularized. Interaction between universities, research institutes and industry should be encouraged and supported. A national system of innovation should be devised as a way of integrating science, technology and innovation in development. Funding for R&D as well as for universities should be enhanced.


The African Union is in a unique position to help and guide the efforts of African countries in science, technology and innovation for the achievement of accelerated industrial growth and sustainable socio-economic development. The First African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology held in 2003 under the auspices of AU and its NEPAD Programme and the First Extraordinary Session of CAMI organized in September 2007 by the AU with the support of UNIDO have adopted respectively “Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action” and the “Action Plan for Africa’s Industrial Development”, which provide road maps for the continent.


We wish to record our appreciation for the support UNIDO has been providing to African countries in their effort to achieve sustainable industrial development. Its work in promoting technology foresight, technology parks, biotechnology/biosafety and the setting up of national cleaner production centres and the planned UNIDO network of university chairs on innovation deserve commendation.


We would also like to acknowledge the many contributions of ECA in support of African Industrialization. ECA and UNESCO supported AU/NEPAD in the establishment of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and its Consolidated Plan of Action. ECA continues to provide technical assistance to AU, NEPAD, AMCOST and CAMI, the Conference of African Ministers of Industry in their efforts to integrate science, technology and innovation into industrialization of Africa, including the promotion of ICT and geoinformation to accelerate industrialization of African countries.


We call on all our development partners, governments, international organizations and the private sector to join together in realizing the vision of Science and Technology Africa’s Plan of Action.


I thank you all for your kind attention.
















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