President off to Niger President Mnangagwa

Prosper Ndlovu Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa was last night expected to leave Harare for Niamey, Niger, where he is set to join other Heads of State and Government today at the Session of the African Union (AU) Summit on Industrialisation and Economic Diversification.

The summit runs under the theme, “Industrialising Africa: Renewed commitment towards an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and economic diversification”, and is expected to unlock the evolution of a vibrant Pan-African enterprise and capital base.

It is part of the Africa Industrialisation Week (AIW – 20-25 November 2022), annual commemorative activities aimed at highlighting Africa’s renewed determination and commitment to industrialisation.

Transforming the region’s economy through industrialisation is one of the central pillars towards attaining the continent’s growth and development goals as articulated in the African Agenda 2063 and the global 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

President Mnangagwa is among regional leaders invited by Niger President, Mohamed Bazoum to participate at the high-level indaba.

He is expected to share Zimbabwe’s industrialisation experience at the regional stage, whose audience includes AU Commission executives and representatives of its key organs, ministers responsible for industry and trade, mining, development partner agencies, manufacturing and commerce leaders, civic society and investment financiers, among other relevant stakeholders.

Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, who arrived in Niamey earlier in the week and was part of the Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU on Wednesday, said Zimbabwe’s participation in the summit was strategic as it is pursuing a comprehensive industrialisation drive anchored on revitalising value chains.

Through President Mnangagwa’s leadership, she said, Zimbabwe was driving a private sector-led growth while positioning the country to tap into vast trade opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“There are lessons to be learnt from the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy, which provides the foundation for the structural transformation of industry and commerce.

“Under President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is experiencing a growth trajectory in production, productivity and industrial capacity utilisation through targeted sector specific strategies,” said Dr Nzenza.

As one of the pioneer AfCFTA Agreement signatories, Zimbabwe has anchored its industrialisation policy in readiness to tap into wider business opportunities in a regionally integrated economic sphere and what remains is scaling up private sector awareness and buy-in, said Dr Nzenza.

Given the collective responsibility between governments, development finance institutions, regional and international bodies in economic development, Dr Nzenza said the summit should help unlock value chain financing as a critical enabler for robust regional transformation.

“Africa’s story of industrialisation lies in value addition. We cannot aspire for resilient and sustainable industries for as long as we continue to export raw commodities,” she said.

Zimbabwe has also called upon the AU Secretariat to consider undertaking value chain mapping for Africa in order for regional countries to tap into each other’s strengths as they industrialise and trade.

As part of efforts to buttress regional industrialisation collaboration efforts, Zimbabwe and Zambia have since embarked on a joint project to establish a Common Agro-Industrial Park, based on comparative advantages in the agricultural sector as a starting point for strengthening cooperation.

The project will be the first of its kind in Southern Africa and hopes are high that the model will be replicated with more African countries as the region explores opportunities under the AfCFTA.

In view of the key and strategic interdependences between industrialisation and the AfCFTA success, the AU has said this week’s summit seeks to rally desired political momentum, resources, partnerships and alliances towards a unique Africa-industrialisation drive.

The summit outcomes are expected to unleash an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation pathway that carries along with the participation of all economic agents, including SMEs, youth, and women in the generation of national wealth and creation of jobs, as well as expansion of entrepreneurship opportunities.

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