The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), African Union, Food and Agriculture Organisation, UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank have jointly conferred a medal of recognition on President Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, as a champion of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA3).
According to a Statement released to the media by Mr Chibaula Silwamba, the Spokesperson Ministry of National Development Planning, Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme received the medal on behalf of President Lungu at the High-level Event on enhancing global partnerships for IDDA3 under the theme: ‘key for successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’ on Wednesday in New York, USA. The ceremony took place on the sidelines of the on-going High-Level Segment of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly.
Mr. Chiteme thanked the final international organisations for recognising President Lungu’s unwavering commitment to the industralisation and development of Africa, without leaving anyone behind.
Participating on the ‘Interactive Dialogue with Ministers’ panel discussion co-organised by UNIDO, African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and African Development Bank, Mr. Chiteme called for level playing field if the African Continental Free Trade Area were to achieve its set targets.
“We need to go back and learn from past efforts of implementing free trade. We have to learn from the existing Regional Economic blocs. For example, COMESA has been promoting trade. We need to carry out studies on the existing efforts and incorporate the benefits and advantages in the continental free trade area,” Mr. Chiteme said. “There is need to ensure a level playing field in the free trade area; our trade-related infrastructure, productivity capacity and other socio-economic parameters should be in place to make sure that we implement the AfCFTA as equals.”
UNIDO states that the vision for the implementation of IDDA3 is to firmly anchor Africa on a path towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The necessary enabling framework conditions for this industrial transformation include the strengthening of key elements of industrial productive capacity, such as infrastructure, innovation and technology transfer, industrial financing, industrial knowledge and skills, and the support from public and private sector institutions that regulate and advocate industrial development.
The four guiding principles deemed critical to ensuring the successful implementation of IDDA3 include: (a) Government ownership and leadership of the initiative; (b) A strengthened enabling business environment; (c) Sectors with high potential for growth, and which can therefore meaningfully contribute to the reduction of poverty, must be prioritized. (d) Strong partnerships for financial and non-financial resource mobilization at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels need to be built.