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Remarks by Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, on the occasion of the High-Level Event on Industrialization, 26 September 2015, New York
Q. How can international financial institutions contribute effectively to operationalizing Africa's industrialization and SDG 9?
The reality today is that Africa is not industrializing. Indeed, Africa is de-industrializing. Africa's share of global manufacturing exports is a meagre 1.9%, compared to over 16% for East Asia and Latin America.
Africa's economies may be growing, but they are relying on the export of primary commodities, leaving them vulnerable to swings in global commodity prices. That is a bad deal. It's a bad deal because Africa stays at the bottom of global value chains. By exporting raw commodities, Africa exports its jobs - jobs which are critically needed at home.
For agricultural products, for minerals and metals, for oil and gas, Africa must add value. Today, Africa has over 82 trillion dollars in discovered natural resources. Africa must add value to these resources, so that the wealth will stay on our continent.
Africa needs a stable trajectory for economic growth and prosperity. To achieve that, Africa must industrialize. But this cannot be done without solving Africa's energy crisis. Without power, industrialization is simply a dream. That's why the African Development Bank has made the New Deal for Energy its top priority. Because Africa must power itself in order to power its industries.
Africa also desperately needs more infrastructure investments in order to support industrialization. We need roads, rail and ports to enhance our competitiveness and open up access to regional and global markets. To address this, the African Development Bank created Africa 50, a new delivery vehicle to help mobilize 10 billion dollars in infrastructural financing for Africa.
Industrialization also requires that Africa build the necessary skills and entrepreneurship capacity to be able to support industries. We must ensure that our young people are prepared for the jobs that Africa's industrialization will create. Africa's young people should not be migrating, at great risk, to Europe. We need them in our industries, not on the high seas.
We must also take advantage of science, technology and innovations, to support industrial growth on the continent.
We need transformative partnerships to drive Africa's industrialization: partnerships with private sector, governments, and international financial institutions.
We must now work together and mobilize financing for action.
The African Development Bank stands fully ready to work closely with the African Union, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the Economic Commission for Africa to advance Africa's industrialization agenda. This is why we have called for the establishment of an African Industrialization Financing Facility, to help turn our dreams into reality for Africa. We can do this. Thank you very much.