The Made in Africa Initiative: Bringing Together a Strategic Network of Top Development Leaders

Mar 29, 2017

Industrialization for job creation and poverty reduction in Africa- case from Rwanda

Côte d'Ivoire, 29 March-- Support for industrialization in Africa received a boost this week with the launch of the Senior Advisory Board for Africa-China Manufacturing Cooperation, an initiative that will create a strategic network of top development leaders’ minds to help facilitate the sustainable development of industrialization and economic transformation in Africa by drawing experiences from China and other emerging economies, in line with targets set out by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the expected relocation of light manufacturing from China and other emerging market economies to Africa, African nations are perfectly poised to create the next manufacturing hub for global markets on the continent. However, there are a variety of challenges facing African nations as they look to modernize their economic structures. The Made in Africa Initiative looks to ensure that Africa takes full advantage of these opportunities, whilst ensuring that future industrialization follows a sustainable, inclusive model of growth.

“By leveraging the expertise of leading industry experts and influential persons with experience working in China and Africa, the Made In Africa Initiative will ensure that Africa’s economic transition integrate knowledge and advice drawn from three decades of rapid economic development in China. By identifying both opportunities and challenges early on, African nations can customize a development model that suits local development needs and priorities in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals!” said Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to China.

The Senior Advisory Board, launched during the backdrop of the International Conference for Emerging Africa (ICEA) in Côte d'Ivoire, consists of a group of up to 15 high-level, influential persons in China, Africa and the World, co-chaired by Professor Justin Yifu Lin, Director of Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University, and Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa. Mr. Lin and Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye spoke at the launch alongside other influential persons, including MIAI CEO Ms. Helen Hai, discussing the wider range of opportunities the China-Africa cooperation can present for sustainable industrial development.

Strong consensus, reached among the participants, of the need for key African countries to capture the window of opportunity for industrialization arising from the pending relocation of production capacity from China and other emerging market economies. UNDP can help facilitate mutually beneficial actions building on China’s development experience in promoting growth and job creation through special economic zones as important building blocks for further industrialization and increase of export-oriented manufacturing to relocate from Asia to Africa.

“African nations can learn a lot from the successful development experiences of East Asian economies such as China” noted Professor Justin Yifu Lin, Director, Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University during the discussions.

The Senior Advisory Board will provide intellectual and strategic guidance to assist and promote the universally agreed SDGs. In the long term it will provide a partnership to deepen the impact of production-led growth while ensuring sustainable dimensions in close response to demand from UNDP partner countries. Members of the board fully support industrialization in Africa.

During the launch Helen Hai, CEO of the Made in Africa Initiative (MIAI) & UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for Industrialization in Africa emphasized that, “ensuring that knowledge sharing accompanies the relocation of light manufacturing industries from these nations to Africa will be central to achieving a successful, sustainable transition.”

As for UNDP, in line with its regional programme on Africa’s Emergence, they can facilitate dialogue between interested governments and potential investors and advisors on SEZs and Chinese industries. This includes considering not only economic and environmental standards but also social standards and decent jobs. UNDP can also bring forward the experiences from other South East Asian countries and from activities on the the continent, such as in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mauritius.

Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to China is visiting Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Ethiopia) between March 27th and April 6th. For more information follow his journey @UNDPChina (Twitter)



Participants at the lunch meeting included; Professor Justin Yifu Lin, Director, Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University; Ms. Helen Hai , CEO Made in Africa Initiative ; Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UN RC for China; Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator & Regional Director UNDP; Mr. Niels Knudsen, UNDP Policy Specialist; Mr. Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist at World Bank; Mr. Moubarack Lo, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Senegal; Mr. Luc Gregoire, UNDP Deputy Country Director, Cote d’Ivoire; Mr. Edward Kallon, UN RC, Nigeria; Mr. Lamin M. Manneh, UN RC, Rwanda; Mrs Niale Kaba, Minister of Planning and Development Cote d’Ivoire; Minister CIV Patrick Achi, Cote d’Ivoire; Mr. Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda &  Mr. R. O Ibraheem, Nigeria Director of Planning Commission.

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