West African Ministers in charge of Industry have appealed to financial institutions in the region, technical and financial partners, the private sector and Member States, to support the speedy implementation of the West Africa Industrial Policy programmes.
A press statement issued here Tuesday indicated that the special appeal was launched by the ministers in Lome, Togo, at a one-day Symposium which ended last Friday.
The Ministers, who also adopted the Report of a two-day Experts’ meeting that followed the Ministerial session, equally mandated the ECOWAS Commission to organize a donors’ Roundtable for the West African Common Industrial Policy (WACIP) in 2012.
The ministerial session discussed technical assistance of UNIDO and mobilization of donors for the financing of WACIP, which ECOWAS leaders adopted in July 2010, with 10 accompanying core programmes and outlining key objectives, including diversifying and broadening the region’s industrial production base.
This is by progressively raising local raw material processing rate from 15-20% to over 30% by 2030 through support for the creation of new industrial production capacity and increasing the manufacturing industries contribution to the regional GDP currently at an average of 6-7% to an average of over 20%.
The other objectives include increasing intra-Community trade in West Africa from less than 12% to 40% by 2030 with a 50% share of the region’s trade in manufacturing goods particularly in the area of energy as well as increasing the volume of exports of goods manufactured in the region to the global market from the current 0.1% to at least 1% by 2030.
Addressing participants earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Mines, Tourism and Free Movement, Mr Hamid Ahmed, urged the Ministers, Member States, the private sector other stakeholders to own the WACIP for the speedy implementation of the 10 WACIP programmes.
Opening the Symposium, Togo’s Minister for Industry, Free Zone and Technological Innovations, Mr. Bakalawa Fofana, expressed the hope that the realization of the WACIP objectives would make it possible to acquire a modern infrastructure for processing the region’s natural resources for the benefit of future generations.
He noted that more than 50 years after many African countries achieved political independence, the path to economic development had remained fraught with serious challenges arising mainly from weak infrastructure for indigenous transformation and processing of local raw materials, including agricultural and mineral resources.
As a solution, the Minister called for ownership and strong support for WACIP, to drive the region’s economic development and integration through industrialization.