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Industrialization & Africa

Africa Industrialization Day

The African continent is a continent of natural resources, however paradoxically the continent has not benefited from its precious metals and fertile lands. Industrial development is a crucial element in achieving a sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the continent. Industrialization intertwined with domestic economies contributes to diversification among African countries and reduces their exposure to external shocks and alleviates poverty by generating employment, encouraging better utilization of resources and wealth creation.

Within that context and in the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1991 - 2000), the UN General Assembly of the Nations in 1989, declared the 20th of November as “Africa Industrialization Day” (A/RES/44/237). The focus of this day is to raise awareness on the importance of industrialization in Africa and the various challenges associated with innovation and development in the continent.

Moreover, this day provides the opportunity to rally stakeholders on national, regional and global levels to exchange knowledge on structural transformation and poverty alleviation in Africa, from strategy to action.

As a continent that has been abused and oppressed for centuries, its wealth has not contributed to economic or societal development. Despite holding around 30% of the world’s known mineral reserves, including cobalt, diamond and gold, and including the mining boom in the past decade, Africa has drawn very little benefit in the face of corruption and exploitation.

Hence , it is important to recognize Africa's re-definition and response to a globalized world and celebrate its achievements in working towards the realization of human rights in the continent. In that regard, the Institute would like to shed light on the fact that the Africa Union Commission will be hosting the 2020 Africa Industrialization Week celebrations (#AIW2020) on 16-20 November 2020, under the theme of “Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in the AfCFTA and COVID-19 era.”

Furthermore, the Institute would like to highlight the Africa Economic Conference : “Africa beyond COVID-19: acceleration towards inclusive sustainable development”, jointly organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to be held virtually from 8-10 December 2020. The conference shall provide a platform for young academics and established researchers to present their solution-oriented research to policy and decision makers.


The Geneva Institute for Human Rights appeals to states of the African continent to promote solidarity, joint cooperation and build political will for structural transformation in Africa.

Structural transformation and the eradication of poverty are closely linked with countries' ability to industrialize. However, enhancing productive capacities, institutional capabilities and the investment in relevant infrastructure improvements, are key contributors in ensuring sustainable industrial development.

Furthermore, it is necessary to mobilize commitment from the international community, key stakeholders, policy makers and the private sector, to the vital importance of sustainable and inclusive industrialization in ensuring a continent of unity, that is marked by freedom, progress and collective prosperity.


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