African Economic Conference 2023 Spurs Sustainable Industrialization

The 18th annual African Economic Conference (#AEC2023) took place in Addis Ababa from the 16 to 18 November 2023. The theme of this edition was “Imperatives for Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa.” The Conference is jointly organized by the AfDB, UNEECA and UNDP.

In his welcome address, Ethiopian President Mrs Sahle-Work Zewde underlined the importance of industrialization for Africa to move up the Global Value Chain and partake in wealth creation around the world.

“The need to change the narrative of Africa’s industrialization for inclusive and sustainable industrial development has become more imperative; African countries need to build a robust industrial sector that can withstand external shocks.”

Ethiopian President Mrs Sahle-Work Zewde
Family Photo of #AEC2023

President Zewde extracted lessons from the COVID pandemic in order to enact policies which can build diversified and resilient global supply and value chains. Africa is ripe for industrialization since it is rich in raw materials, has a sizeable single market made possible via the #AfCFTA and enjoyrs a youth dividend.

ÔÇťAfricans need to think African, produce African, and consume African to encourage indigenous industrial development in Africa.”

AfDB Chief Economist and VP Kevin Urama

VP Urama believes that Loval Value Addition (#LVA) will bring about the structural transformation of the economies in Africa by incentivizing local production and consumption. As a key example, Africa has all the ingredients, from #CriticalMinerals to rubber, in order to build the ecosystem for the manufacture of Electric Vehicles (#EV).

Referring to the meteoric rise of China which was mostly built upon transforming China into the ‘Factory of the World’, Africa now seeks to accelerate its industrialization and adapt the trajectory taken by the Chinese economy to its local context. However, Africa must remain vigilant so that its environment and biodiversity are not negatively impacted by mercantilist industrialization.