Dakar — A high-level event on industrialization and infrastructure will be held in Dakar, Senegal, on Sunday to engage actors and knowledge networks to share experiences and expertise in an effort to develop regionally-driven recommendations for accelerating integration and industrialization in Africa.
This high-level side event, which takes place during the ECA's second Africa Development Week in Dakar, is the first of two preparatory regional meetings in Africa proposed by the UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) President to gather views, best practices and recommendations to feed into discussions at a Special Meeting of ECOSOC on "Innovations for Infrastructure Development and Promoting Sustainable Industrialization" to be held at UN Headquarters, New York, in May 2017.
Organized by the Economic and Social Council and the ECA, the meeting will also highlight infrastructure gaps facing the continent and focus on implementation of identified strategies. It will also identify opportunities to leverage development cooperation, support infrastructure development and industrialization-promoting efforts such as Africa's Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) aspiration.
ECA's Chief of Industrialization and Infrastructure Section in the Regional Integration and Trade Division, Soteri Gatera, says industrialization and infrastructure development are crucial for the successful transformation of African economies.
"That is why the ECA and the African Union have since the turn of the century dedicated significant efforts and time to advocate for innovative financing and policies for infrastructure and industrial development to accelerate Africa's structural transformation," said Mr. Gatera.
The third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) UN resolution, the Africa Union's Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all emphasize the role industrialization can play in meeting their objectives, with infrastructure development as a necessary enabler.
Ministers and officials from Industry and Infrastructure Development, representatives of agencies responsible for investment promotion, the AU, civil society and the private sector, UN Agencies, donors and development partners from African and other regions of the developing world are expected to attend the high-level side event at the King Fahd Hotel in Dakar.
Meanwhile, an expert group meeting on the "New Urban Agenda and Demographic Dividend: Investments for Africa's Youth" will be held from 26-28 March, 2017, also during Africa Development Week in Dakar to support decision-makers in Africa to develop strategies for implementing the New Urban Agenda and reaping the demographic dividend.
A key focus of the meeting will be on the interlinkage of the growing youth segment of Africa's population and its impact on sustainable urbanization, especially in light of opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Africa.
The urban and demographic transitions underway in Africa are two of the most important shifts on the continent with profound implications for inclusive growth.
Panelists in the meeting include the President of the Economic and Social Council Fredrick Shava, Office of the Special Adviser on Africa Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, Maged Abdelfatah Abdelaziz, ECA's acting Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok and the African Union Commission's Director Political Affairs, Khabele Matlosa.