The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday launched the 2017 edition of its Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2017) at its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Bridging urban and industrial Africa
At the heart of the event was a call on African governments to take calculated steps to create links between urban and industrial industrial development within the broader framework of their national plans.
As countries are developing overarching frameworks within which strategic targets for structural transformation are defined, national development plans offer an ideal context within which urbanization and industrialization targets could be linked.
In delivering her keynote address, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECA, Giovanie Biha, said it was only through bridging urban and industrial development that both areas could be effectively sustained in the long term.
“As countries are developing overarching frameworks within which strategic targets for structural transformation are defined, national development plans offer an ideal context within which urbanization and industrialization targets could be linked,” she said.
“In this way, urban and industrial strategies could be explicitly linked to broader national goals such as poverty reduction and improved well-being in both urban and rural areas.”
She expressed worry about how Africa cities had been crippled by infrastructure and service gaps leading to rising youth unemployment across the continent. She said evidence suggested that the urban-industrial development disconnect was adversely affecting the continent.
ECA (@ECA_OFFICIAL) May 30, 2017
About the ERA 2017
The ERA 2017, was under the theme ‘Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa’s Transformation.‘ It emphasized that cities require better performing industrialization and industrialization on the other hand needs better functioning cities.
It noted that Africa is currently faced with the challenge of creating productive cities and efficient urban systems that can support structural transformation, recommending therefore that improving the economic functioning of the largest cities will unleash potential benefits to create agglomeration economies.
The report provides concrete policy entry points for African governments to prioritize industrialization and take advantage of their growing cities and human settlements to support this target.
It also calls for a strategic, cross-sectoral and integrated approach to urbanization, which promotes productive, inclusive and sustainable cities as part of national visions for quality growth.
Who were in attendance
The launch was attended by high-level participants, including Ambassadors based in Addis Ababa, policymakers, academia, representatives from the Ethiopian government and UN agencies here.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states following a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly.