ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 30 September 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/-African media have gathered in Addis Ababa for a media awareness workshop on Africa’s Industrialization organized by The African Union Commission (AUC), through the Department of Trade and Industry. The workshop which started last Wednesday, ran from 25th to 27th September, 2019 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and focused at strengthening dialogue between the AUC and the media by publicizing the various industrial and Trade policies on the continent.
There has been notable momentum at the continental level to drive Africa’s structural transformation through industrialization as an anchor for inclusive and sustainable development, in line with the aspirations espoused under Agenda 2063, while at the same time anchoring the continent’s prospects for attaining the SDGs by 2030. Though abundantly endowed with natural resources, including many industrial minerals and agricultural resources, Africa remains poor and suffers food insecurity. The continent also remains on the margins of industrialization as reflected by low and declining shares of Manufacturing Value Added (MVA) in GDP since 1970.
Recent AUC landmark political decisions include endorsement of the Africa Union SME Strategy by the Heads of State and Government during the 10th Ordinary Summit held from 10th to 11th February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The department will be expected to coordinate the roll-out and implementation of strategies that will enhance the contribution of SMEs to the continent’s development agenda.
Despite having a number of industrial policies and strategies, the Department of Trade has not been able to effectively sensitize and popularize these important frameworks. Commenting on the importance of this in her welcome remarks, Mrs. Ron Osman Omar, Officer in Charge – Department of Trade and Industry said, “Media remain the fourth arm of Governments and an important channel to communicate with the continent and beyond, on Africa’s industrialization agenda. However, the role of the media in economic development is sometimes overlooked.”
It has also been observed that in most cases, information is not widely disseminated to the wider audience in general and among ordinary African Citizens in particular. Another stark reality is that the continent also continues to be negatively portrayed in international media channels. Given this scenario, what is therefore needed is a proactive communication strategy that creates the requisite visibility of the various industrial frameworks, and media play a critical role in that regard.
“While the Africa Union Commission has developed robust Industrial Development Frameworks and implemented the same, the milestones in the Commission’s delivery on these frameworks have been underplayed due to sub-optimal exploitation of media platforms. This is one key deliverable from this Workshop. The urgency to address that apparent and glaring weakness cannot be overemphasized, if Africa’s social, political and economic trajectory has to turn the corner and in the ultimate, deliver on Agenda 2063 – the Africa We Want,” Mrs. Omar added.
This workshop will no doubt improve knowledge-sharing on the key strategies on industrialization under execution by the AUC, to mark the initial steps towards enhancing image as well as accurate reporting on the continent’s development agenda.