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20.03.2012 Africa

Experts meet to develop action plan for EAC industrialization policy and strategy / Regional Action Plan to be aligned with national industrialization Action Plans

By East African Community (EAC)
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BUJUMBURA, Burundi, March 20, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A three day meeting convened today at the Hotel La Chandelier in Bujumbura, Burundi; bringing together regional industrialization experts with the objective of formulating an Action Plan for the implementation of the EAC Industrialization Policy and Strategy.

The Action Plan will highlight the roadmap for implementing the first phase of the Policy and Strategy during the next five years (2012-2017). Implementation of the interventions in the Action Plan will in the short term address a number of challenges that have constrained industrialization within the region.

The meeting will also draw attention to key interventions required to put the region on a sound platform for structural transformation and sustainable growth as well as identifying specific programmes/projects with indicative resources, impact indicators and target groups, and means of verification and implementation agencies.

In a keynote address to the experts' forum, EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Dr. Nyamajeje C. Weggoro reiterated the commitments made by Partner States to cooperate in matters of industrial development and in particular to take such steps in the field of industrial development that will promote self-sustaining and balanced industrial growth as stipulated in Articles 79 and 80 of the EAC Treaty.

“The overall objective of the policy and strategy, which provides intentions and strategic areas of focus to guide EAC towards attaining industrialized economic status by 2032, is to create a modern competitive and dynamic industrial sector, fully integrated into the global economy.

“Presently, the contribution of the industrial base in East Africa is estimated at 19.2% GP, of which only 8.9% is generated from manufacturing,” he said.

The Director noted that the level of contribution is low in relation to the average target of about 25% for all the Partner States and in comparison to other industrialized states in Asia, Europe or America or even South Africa.

“Of course this is an ambitious target given that the leading economies in the world average, 20% with China at 21.7%, Germany 20.9% and Japan 20.1%. Our region therefore needs to undergo a structural transformation of the manufacturing sector through higher value addition and product diversification based on comparative and competitive advantages in the region,” he added.

The Action Plan will be a vital instrument in guiding and coordinating the implementation process. It will in particular support the EAC towards achieving deeper levels of integration and facilitate industrial collaboration among key stakeholders with a view to strengthening national and regional industrialization efforts

In his remarks, GIZ Head of Component on Economic Policy, EAC-GIZ Programme, Mr. Florian Bernhardt noted that the EAC had adopted a modern approach to industrial policy making that includes most aspects that are currently intensively discussed in the international debate on 'New Industry Policy'.

“These debates include embedded autonomy or collective search of public and private sector for strategies and projects; the importance of innovations; technology transfer and private sector involvement in research and development as well as experimentation in project design and implementation,” he elaborated.

Mr. Bernhardt emphasised that GIZ considers industrialization as a key aspect for development and the EAC regional integration process.

The EAC industrialization Strategy identifies six strategic regional industries in which the region has potential comparative advantage including: Iron-ore and other mineral processing; Fertilizers and agrochemicals; Pharmaceuticals; Petro-chemicals and gas processing; Agro-processing; and Energy and Bio-fuels.

The meeting is being attended by experts from Ministries responsible for industrialization and planning in the EAC Partner States; private sector and manufacturing associations in the region as well as industry support institutions (including but not limited to technology, technical training, standards, research, investment and export promotion institutions) and regional and national development institutions.

The experts are key to ensuring the EAC Industrialization Policy and Strategy implementation action plan is aligned to the Partner States' national plans of action for industrial development.

The meeting is convened with the support of GIZ.

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