Addis Ababa — All is set for the launch of the Economic Report on Africa (ERA2017) which examines how the continent can accelerate industrialization as a vehicle for Africa's structural transformation by harnessing opportunities arising from rapid urbanization.
The annual ERA is a flagship publication of the ECA. The 2017 edition is titled; "Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa's Transformation."
"It is imperative that as a continent we start looking at the opportunities being created by the rapid urbanization that is currently ongoing," said Acting ECA Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok.
"This flagship publication will help our policymakers identify and analyze the drivers, enablers and policy levers that will strengthen linkages between urban growth and industrial growth."
Most of Africa is still predominantly rural but the situation is changing rapidly, according to the report. It is estimated that by 2035, 50 percent of Africa's population will live in urban areas.
The report stresses that African countries, under the right policy frameworks anchored in national development planning, can leverage the momentum of urbanization to accelerate industrialization for a more prosperous and equitable future for Africans.
"The ECA, through ERA2017 is urging our Member States to leverage the force of urbanization to drive and enable industrial development," Mr. Hamdok said.
The report thus examines how governments can harness the opportunities arising from rapid urbanization to speed up industrialization and accelerate structural transformation on the continent.
There are 11 country case studies in the report detailing practical findings on how Ethiopia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Sudan, Mozambique, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa and Cameroon are managing rapid urbanization.
"The main issue is that Africa is urbanizing very fast and of course there are challenges that come with that but more so we are seeing opportunities for growth because the long-term growth outlook for the continent remains promising despite the recent slowdown of the global economy," Mr. Hamdok said.
High level participants at the launch will discuss and share the key findings of ERA2017 with the case studies being presented to support the rationale of linking industrialization and urbanization processes and frameworks for the continent to achieve inclusive and sustainable structural transformation.
The 2016 Economic Report on Africa urged Africa to take the green route to industrialization with ECA experts saying green industrialization is an opportunity for the continent to achieve sustainable growth.