The leaders of Africa have in recent years shown commitment to the industrialization of the continent in both the short and long-term, and have taken a number of major initiatives to meet the challenges of development as evidenced by their decision to dedicate the January 2008 Summit to the theme: “the industrialization of Africa.” The dedication of the Summit to this theme shows the great importance and recognition that the African leaders attach to industrial development on the continent. During the Summit, the Heads of State and Government endorsed and adopted the Plan of Action for the accelerated industrial development for Africa and directed the Commission of the African Union to speedily operationalize it in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other development partners. Pursuant to this directive, the Commission of the African Union, in collaboration with the above partners, developed a Strategy for the implementation of the Plan of Action, which contains seven Programme Clusters, namely, Industrial Policy and Institutional Direction; Upgrading Production and Trade Capacities; Promote Infrastructure and Energy for Industrial Development; Human Resource Development for Industry; Industrial Innovation Systems, R&D and Technology Development; Financing and Resource Mobilization; and Sustainable Development.
The AIDA initiative was mainly developed to perform, amongst others, the following key points:
• Integration of industrialization in national development policies especially in poverty alleviation strategies.
• Development and implementation of an industrial policy with priority accorded to maximizing the use of local productive capacities and inputs, adding value to and local processing of the abundant natural resources of the country, and to the development of small-scale and rural industries, including the informal sectors well as intermediate and capital goods industries with high linkages to other sectors of the economy as potential sources of employment creation.
• Improvement of Investment and Mining Codes to support local processing of mineral resources
• Setting aside, by mineral resources- rich countries, of a portion of their earnings from commodity price surges for investment in programmes/projects of economic diversification and industrial development
• Promotion of socially responsible industries.
• Taking maximum advantage of Africa’s Partnerships, especially with the Newly Industrializing and Emerging Powers of the South, for the development and transfer of technology, for the establishment of joint industrial enterprises in Africa, and for greater market access for African manufactured products
• Establishment/Strengthening of capital and financial markets (including innovative financial intermediaries) and improvement of business finance, especially for small-scale and rural industries.