Monday 06 Jan 2020

A week dedicated to Africa’s industrialisation

The AFCFTA project has been working closely with Women’s Business Associations on the continent and hosted a two-day workshop together with ITC. The goal is to enable women to engage in trade negotiations and to facilitate a more gender-sensitive and inclusive African Continental Free Trade Area.

The Africa Industrialisation Week is one of the flagship events of the African Union Commission, and this year took place from November 17 to 23 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the week, a host of events were underway, ranging from youth engagement forums, conferences on fashion value chains, innovation labs and discussions on Special Economic Zones. Reuniting actors from all over the continent, the event provides a platform for Africans to discuss what industrialisation on the continent should look like, and how to best get there in a sustainable and coherent way.

Kennedy Letlhogela, GIZ Consultant and expert in stakeholder engagement, shed some light on the GIZ’s involvement in facilitating the Industrialisation Week.

What is the Africa Industrialisation Week?
The 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) 1989, declared November 20 to be Africa Industrialisation Day. It was first observed on November 20, 1990. The flagship programme is the African Union Commission's effort to enhance international cooperation while creating a platform for the Pan African Industrialisation Agenda dialogue and also giving African businesses a platform to market and engage with development partners, international investors and like-minded business leaders.

Why is it important?
In the dawn of the AFCFTA, it is imperative for the African Union Commission to create a platform that allows African entrepreneurs to network efficiently. Furthermore, this platform has become an advocacy tool for a more accelerated and sustainable industrialisation of Africa.

Who participated in the AIW this year?
Public and Private Sector actors, including International Cooperating Partners, Diplomatic Community, Civil Society and Women’s Business Associations.

What were notable events of the AIW?
In collaboration with ITC and financial and technical support from the GIZ AFCFTA project, the African Union hosted the SheTrades Global event, a platform for women entrepreneurs aiming to build the capacity of women in business to engage in trade negotiations. The event was preceded by a two-day closed workshop hosted by ITC and the GIZ AFCFTA project, providing a platform for women to voice their needs and priorities for the continental trade agreement.

What use and benefits did it generate for the participants?
Participants have the chance to engage with policy makers, allowing them to drive policies on Industrialisation in a direction that favours their businesses. Future collaboration with various businesses are expected in the wake of the AFCTA. Most importantly this gives participants a change to interact with the African Union, demystifying the notion that the institution is high up and not accessible to the citizenry of the continent.