The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has reaffirmed its commitment to support industrialisation in East African Community (EAC).
The representative of UNIDO to Tanzania, Mauritius and the East African Community (EAC), Stephen Bainous Kargbo, stated this during a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki in Arusha, Tanzania.
Mathuki said that the EAC Heads of State recognise that for socio-economic development to be sustainable, the EAC region must prioritise industrialisation.
“The need for the region to prioritise industrialisation has been stressed upon by our Heads of State. We now need leaders and technocrats in the region to think of a collective regional strategy to respond to unemployment including expanding the manufacturing sector’s capacity and promoting youth entrepreneurs,” said the Secretary General.
The Secretary General decried the huge amount of resources that the Community is losing in exporting raw materials, leading to the loss of jobs and investment opportunities. He reiterated the need for the region to work together in developing the manufacturing sector rather than competing against each other.
“We must develop our regional value chains, but in so doing, we must establish our comparative advantages, identifying who is best fitted to do what, and thereby establishing complementarity in the region,” he said.
On his part, the UNIDO representative said that of the EAC-UNIDO partnership has been instrumental in supporting and tracking industrial development in the region. “UNIDO will continue to play its role by supporting relevant institutions in capacity building activities for strengthening industrial policy making capacities,” said Kargbo.
The EAC-UNIDO ‘Strengthening Capacities for Industrial Formulation and Implementation in the East African Community’ Programme’ enhanced the region’s capacity to: design, manage and implement an industrial policy and collect industrial statistics and data. Further to this, the programme also strengthened the institutional capacity of the EAC Secretariat, EAC Partner States’ governments and key private sector stakeholders.
Speaking about the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), Kargbo said that the quality of industrial policies would be key in helping the region to put the necessary building blocks in place to prepare for 4IR, through linking EAC industries with international partners, arriving at shared solutions, and by providing up-to-date knowledge on industrial diagnosis and policymaking.
“We must have clear goals in mind for our industrial transitions: what we should achieve, what we can achieve, and how we should go about it,” said the UNIDO Representative.