The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have co-hosted the EIB Africa Day 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. UNIDO’s Director General, LI Yong, and EIB President, Werner Hoyer, opened the high-level event, alongside H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia.
This year’s EIB Africa Day focused on the theme of sustainable industrialization in Africa, and emphasized the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development for the continent’s future. The high-level panels of the event approached the topic from business, policy and financing angles, while reflecting on such key international milestones as the Third Industrial Decade for Africa (IDDA III) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“In order to ensure a prosperous future for all women and men of the continent, it is crucial to ensure that the sustainable industrial development of Africa is inclusive. As we all know, there is not a single country which has achieved economic and social development without an advanced industrial sector,” said UNIDO’s Li Yong.
EIB President Werner Hoyer added, “Half of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is below 25 years of age. By 2035, people reaching working age in sub-Saharan Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined. Moreover, Africa is diverse, with great potential across sectors, regions and industries. We must enable young men and women across Africa to realize their own potential through investment in skills and entrepreneurship. Together with partners like UNIDO, we need to support a shift from aid to investment, as a prerequisite for a shift from poverty reduction to growth and prosperity. As the EU bank, and as the investment arm of EU external action, we are deeply committed to this.”
The event brought together a significant number of stakeholders, including government representatives, representatives of Regional Economic Communities, development finance institutions, UN agencies, the private sector, NGOs and academia.
UNIDO partners with the Government of Ethiopia on a Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) to support the country in achieving its industrial development goals. The Programme’s priority initiatives include the development of an industrial park focused on the leather industry – Modjo Leather City – which is supported by the EIB.
The EIB, based in Luxembourg, is the long-term lending institution of the European Union (EU) and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The EIB is present in more than 160 countries and has been active across Africa since 1963.
UNIDO, a UN specialized agency based in Vienna, is mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development for poverty eradication, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
Speech of EIB President Werner Hoyer