The Semi- Annual 3rd Stakeholders Strategic Retreat organized under the theme of “Financing for Industrial Development, A new ERA was held at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting was aimed at redefining the strategic pathway towards a better cooperation with Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Partners and Stakeholders.
Participants at the meeting discussed regional experiences including challenges with the resources mobilization for the implementation of the Plan of Action of the Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa (AIDA). In addition, Members of Bureaus of Industry and Minerals met at Senior Officials level with guidance from legal counsel to discuss the institutional and legal implications of the new format of the Specialized Technical Committees within the AU Governance Structure.
In her opening remarks on behalf of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, Director Trade and Industry of the AUC expressed her gratitude to the Government of Kenya for hosting this meeting. She said “the meeting is being held at critical time when Member States are showing an increasing interest for championing the cause of Africa economic transformation and industrial development”. She further mentioned that “Despite some progress made in some countries and in certain sectors, the industry sector continues to face some challenges related to inadequate infrastructure, lack of well-trained employees, financing issues as well as support institutions that are unable to assume their own mandate”.
The Director of Trade and Industry added that the meeting is very important in terms of sharing information and discuss common responsibilities for the development of continental strategy in the context of Agenda 2063. In her conclusion she emphasized and appreciated the collaboration between MS, RECs and Partners to work together for the development industrialization in Africa.
Addressing participants at the opening session, Mr. Edme KoffI, Chief of Africa Bureau, UNIDO welcomed all participants and said “it is an opportune time to meet here today and to discuss the way forward on the implementation of continental frameworks such as the AU Agenda 2063 and the AIDA that are important for industrial development in Africa”. He also affirmed the support of UNIDO to AUC in implementing AIDA and its future related activities while wishing a successful meeting to the participants.
Mr. Lewell Njehia, Deputy Director of Medium and Large industries from the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development of Kenya on his part, pointed out the challenges that Africa is facing to achieve economic transformation through an industrialization process. He added that “it is in this light that Kenya supports the implementation of the African Union Action plan for Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA).This is because the AIDA strategy is geared mainly towards promoting production, diversification, creation of jobs opportunities, energy production for industrial development and technology transfer”.
He concluded his speech by reaffirming Kenya’s commitment to Africa’s integration efforts and the entire pan-African Agenda and added that Kenya will continue to work closely with the EAC,COMESA, African Union Commission and the international community towards the industrialization and overall development of the African commitment.