RPF Chairman implores African states to invest in industrialisation

The RPF Chairman, H.E President Paul Kagame emphasised the urgency of accelerating industrial development in Africa, highlighting that the pace remains too slow.

He made the address while chairing the opening ceremony of the 17th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union which exclusively discussed Industrialisation and Economic Diversification on the continent.

It was held in Niamey, Niger, on November 25.

“The pace of industrialisation in Africa remains too slow to achieve Africa’s development goals under Agenda 2063. We need to invest more of our national budgets in industrial policy, and significantly increase energy and infrastructure capacity,” Kagame said.

He added that stronger links between African universities and the private sector need to be created to promote a culture of innovation that includes young people.

According to Africa’s Industrial Revolution report, the continent’s drive for industrialisation will benefit from an innovative policy mix that combines the focus on traditional manufacturing, with a forward-looking focus on new and emerging high-sophisticated opportunities.

The Chairman highlighted that pharmaceutical manufacturing is an important new industrial sector for Africa that is being championed by the African Union Commission, along with Africa CDC, the African Development Bank, Afreximbank, and many other partners.

In regards to that, he thanked the Commission for the support extended to Rwanda as the host of the African Medicines Agency  (AMA) to operationalise the headquarters, as quickly as possible.

AMA is a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) intended to facilitate the harmonisation of medical products regulation throughout the AU in order to improve access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products on the continent.

The president and other African leaders have been echoing the need to reverse the dependence on western countries by accelerating the process of industrialisation on the continent and strengthening the intra-African trade, which should be buoyed by the full operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He congratulated the AfCFTA Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene, and his team for the progress made and for how every year more countries are depositing their instruments of ratification for this tool deemed to speed up industrial development on the continent.

“It is a sign that we are on the right track,” he said, adding that “to create impact however, we need to move forward in unison and with a sense of urgency. It is important to finalise the remaining protocols and schedules of commitments.

“Times have changed and the economic unity of our continent is more important than ever. We have not come this far to slow down. Time and time again, we are reminded of the importance of working together. No one can make it alone. That is what we need to do in the coming months to fully realise the potential of this historic agreement and of our great continent.”

AfCFTA presents a market potential of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

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