African Development Bank and UNIDO join forces

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 21 May to step up collaboration to boost Africa’s industrialisation.

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‘The Bank launched in 2016 its Industrialisation Strategy for Africa 2016-2025, which was the outcome of collaborative work with UNIDO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The signing of the present MoU is key to our Strategy’s implementation,’ says African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina. ‘The Bank already benefits enormously from UNIDO’s expertise in developing policies, programmes and knowledge tools which supports our member countries to industrialise.’ In 2017, the Bank allocated US $1.2 billion to Industrialise Africa – one of the Bank’s High 5 development priorities – mostly to projects for financial sector operations.

The new agreement facilitates the Bank and UNIDO cooperation on joint activities of shared interest in areas such as agro-industry development, circular economy, eco-industrial parks, investment in innovation and technology, enterprise development, trade and capacity-building, and access to finance, among others. The MoU is in line with objectives set in the Bank’s High 5 strategy, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III), the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa.

‘Achieving Africa’s industrial potential will not happen by chance; strong partnerships such as the one our two organisations have now formalised are key,’ says Philippe Scholtès, managing director at UNIDO. ‘This partnership will create significant opportunities and facilitate our work together towards the operationalisation of IDDA III (2016–2025).’

The two entities have already initiated working level collaboration including within the framework of UNIDO’s flagship Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) model, which helps synchronise development efforts and mobilise resources to support countries in accelerating industrialisation. The Bank and UNIDO recently undertook a joint mission to Morocco as part of the initial development of the PCP and will continue exploring cooperation opportunities in the ongoing PCPs in Senegal and Ethiopia. Collaboration has also been initiated for the establishment of staple crop processing zones in a select number of African countries.

The Memorandum was signed by Adesina and Scholtès in Busan, Republic of Korea, on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank Group, held under the theme of ‘Accelerating Africa’s industrialisation.’ The signing ceremony was attended by African Industry Ministers, representatives of regional Member States, development partners and private-sector executives.