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African Union to Organize the Africa Industrialization Week 2018 (AIW 2018)

November 19, 2018 to November 23, 2018

African Union to Organize the Africa Industrialization Week 2018 (AIW 2018)


THEME: “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”.




1.1. The 20th of November was set aside annually as Africa Industrialization Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 1989. The date, which was also proclaimed by the 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) provides an opportunity to key stakeholders to reflect on Africa’s industrialization, looking at how the continent can change its current status quo.

1.2. Attempts to industrialize in Africa and build self-reliance dates back to the early 1980s, starting off with the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA), 1980-2000, the First Industrial Development Decade of Africa (IDDA I), 1980-1990, Abuja Treaty of 1991, followed by the Second Industrial Development Decade of Africa (1991-2000), and more recently the Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa, (AIDA), of 2008. We are currently in the 3rd Industrial Decade, IDDA3, 2016-2025, with emphasis on structural transformation, to strengthen the continent’s capacity to deliver a sustainable, and durable human development path to its member states.

1.3. There has recently been momentum at the continental level to drive Africa’s economic structural transformation through industrialisation as an anchor for inclusive sustainable development. This is even more important if the continent has to deliver on Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, 2030). Industrialisation is key if the continent is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, in particular SDG9 – “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation”.

1.4. Structural transformation can create prosperity for Africa by shifting financial, natural and human resources from low-productive agrarian or resource-based sectors to more productive industrial or service-based sectors. This transformation could allow the continent to reap its “demographic dividend”, with reference to the growth of its gross domestic product that could materialize due to the expected doubling of the continent’s workforce to almost two billion by 2050 (Li Yong, 2016). Africa might also be able to harness an “urbanization dividend”, due to the increased migration of the population from the countryside to cities (AfDB-OECD-UNDP, 2016).

1.5. It is against this background, and inspired by a desire to sustain the momentum on Africa’s quest for self-reliance, and building upon the positive outcome of the 2017 Africa Union Industrialisation Day, that the Department of Trade and Industry is organising the 2018 Africa Union Industrialisation Week, under the Theme, “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”.

1.6. Commemoration of the 2018 event will be held from the 18th to the 23rd of November, 2018 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African Union Commission (AUC) will host this event in conjunction with the NEPAD Agency, UNIDO and other key stakeholders including a consortium of Development Cooperating Partners (DCPs). The Opening Session shall immediately follow the conclusion of the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government to be held at the AUC Headquarters from the 17-18 November 2018.


2.1. Industrialisation prospects for the continent are anchored on unleashing the growth of small and micro-enterprises guided by the African Union SMEs Strategy whose development was informed by evidence-based mapping of the peculiarities of the continent’s production systems. By creating business enabling conditions across Member States that can enhance the longevity rate of Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), the continent’s industrialisation momentum can be fuelled.
2.2. Initiatives to boost the continent’s prospects of developing viable industrial clusters, regional value chains for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and small and medium sized industries (SMIs), as well as established middle and high-cap enterprises will strengthen the continent’s capacity to integrate into the global production and trading system.
2.3. Against this background, the principal objective of the Africa Industrialization Week, which is an annual event, will be to raise global awareness regarding the industrialization challenges faced by the continent.

2.4. The event also aims to mobilize both African leaders and international organisations to advocate for the accelerated and sustainable as well as inclusive industrialisation of Africa.

2.5. It provides a public-private engagement dialogue platform that seeks to enhance the interface between the industrial policy makers, the private sector, civic society, and development cooperating partners as they endeavour to share ideas on how to shape the continent’s industrialisation agenda.

2.6. It also avails an opportunity to the private sector to show-case their enterprise capacity, success stories, innovation capacity, thus setting benchmarks for current and future investment and enterprise development initiatives.

2.7. The event, which will be hosted on the margins of the AU Extra-Ordinary Summit, will also afford Senior Policymakers an opportunity to gauge the extent to which the pan-African industrialisation drive is gaining traction on the continent, thus inform any possible future improvements to industrial policy making for enhanced inclusive and sustainable development for the continent.

2.8. This AIW2018 will feature the pharmaceutical sector as a flagship manufacturing sub-sector under profile, given the urgency of the need for the continent to build self-reliance in the production, supply and distribution of medicines, particularly given rich, abundant and largely unexploited organic feedstock for the industry in Africa.

2.9. The Industrialisation Week will deliver on some of the following primary objectives:

i. Enhance engagement on the pan-African industrialisation agenda with emphasis on emerging production systems such as industrial clustering, Special Economic Zones, regional value chain development, and SMEs development;
ii. Promote the implementation of AU continental frameworks such as; the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA); the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), the SME Strategy; the Boosting Intra-African Trade; the African Continental Free Trade Area; and the UN General Assembly's Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) in the context of Agenda 2063.

iii. Provide a stronger interface between industry and service providers, and public policy practitioners on industrialisation.
iv. Enhance understanding of recent industrial developments trends;
v. Taking stock of the recent evolution regarding implementation of the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA).
vi. Encourage youth and women entrepreneurial development initiatives on the continent;


3.1. The event will draw participants from a multi-stakeholder base that will provide an opportunity to enrich the dialogue on the subject of industrialisation. 500 participants are expected at the AIW2018. The afternoon of 18th November 2018 is dedicated towards the Official Opening Ceremony by the H.E Paul Kagame President of the African Union, High Level dignitaries from Member States, RECs, United Nations Agencies, Diplomatic Corps and Private Sector will attend the launch the Africa Industrialisation Week and the commemoration Africa Industrialisation Day 2018.

3.2. The participants will be drawn from AU Member States, Private Sector representatives, Regional Economic Communities, AU Commission, NEPAD, UNIDO, GIZ, EU, UNDP, UNECA, UNCTAD, Afreximbank, AfDB, Academia, civil society, Research Institutes and Think Tanks, independent experts and researchers.


A highly participatory and interactive model will be employed for effective delivery of the event. This will include providing an opportunity for enhance interface between public policy makers, and the private sector, through thematic subjects that include, seminars, panel sessions, and break-away sessions covering the following current, as well as emerging subjects shaping the continent’s industrialisation:

 High-Level Pan-African Conference on Access to Medicines and Health Commodities: Catalyzing Local Production
 Continental Forum on Regional Value Chains and Mobilizing African Manufacturer’s (to support the linkage of Africa Regional Value Chains to the Global Value Supply);
 The Second Symposium on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Green Industrialization.
 A Workshop on Africa Enterprise Network, catalyzing SMEs and start-ups productivity;
 A Workshop on Youth Entrepreneurship to reduce migration, Youth and women empowerment in enterprise development; and
 A Workshop on Financing Industrialization.
 EIB-UNIDO Africa Day 2018: sustainable Industrialization in Africa.

Enhanced awareness on Africa industrialisation, policy coherence on industrialisation, as well as AU’s effective engagement with key stakeholders on industrialisation and pharmaceutical production. It is envisaged that this will stimulate more dialogue, and thus generate outputs that can enrich the AUC’s pan-African industrialisation drive in the short- medium- to long-term exploits.
Enhanced synergies between the private and public sectors as they interface with global capital and technology, setting the tone for enhanced production capacity to boost intra-African trade and enhance Africa’s share of global trade.

i. Mrs. Ron Osman, Senior Industry Officer,
Department of Trade and Industry, African Union Commission
P.O Box: Box 3243, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
Tel: +251 11 551 7700 ; ext :2965
Email: OmarR@africa-union.org