NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United Nations on Tuesday urged African
governments to prioritize the manufacturing sector in order to
achieve sustainable development.
representative for Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Comoros and
Seychelles at United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO), told journalists in Nairobi that in the past, the
continent tended to concentrate on the social sectors such as
education and health.
"African governments should prioritize productive sectors
such as the manufacturing sector because they tend to provide
jobs as well as products and services that are needed to support
other sectors," Kalenzi said during celebrations to mark Africa
Industrialization Day (AID) 2018.
The AID was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 with
the objective to reach out to African leaders and to mobilize
partnerships necessary for the development of industry on the
This year’s theme is "Promoting Regional Value Chains in
Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural
transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical
Kalenzi said the event is special as it comes at a time when
UNIDO is pursuing the implementation of the Third Industrial
Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III), while in Kenya the
government has prioritized manufacturing as one of President
Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda, a development blueprint.
Kalenzi said that most African nations were in a crisis when
they achieved independence from the colonial governments.
"They therefore sought to address immediate social needs such
as the provision of basic social and infrastructure services to
the population," he added.
The UN official noted that on average the contribution of the
manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) of
Africa is lower than that of most regions of the world.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of
Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, said that over the past ten
years, Kenya’s manufacturing base has remained static at 11
percent of the country’s GDP, and its industrial exports have
decreased in absolute terms.
"It is for this reason that efforts are now being rallied
under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s the Big Four Agenda that among
other pillars seek to increase the GDP contribution of the
manufacturing sector to 15 percent by the year 2022," Munya
He added that Kenya aims to expand the manufacturing sector
through boosting local production, expanding to the regional
market as well as taking advantage of global market niches.
He said that so far Kenya has identified opportunities and
sectors that will more than double the amount of current formal
manufacturing sector jobs to approximately 700,000 and add 205.4
billion Kenya shillings (about 2 billion U.S. dollars) to 3
billion dollars to the GDP.
He revealed that some of the opportunities and sectors
identified include the promotion of value addition in
agro-processing, textiles, leather, construction services and
materials, automotive, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, mining
services and Information Technology Communication (ICT) related
sectors that build on comparative advantages.
He noted that the government is keen to expand medium, small
and micro enterprises (MSMEs) by supporting rising stars and
addressing challenges affecting the sector.
Betty Maina, principal secretary in the Ministry of Industry,
Trade and Cooperatives, said that Kenya also plans to create an
enabling environment to accelerate industrial development
through industrial parks and zones along infrastructure
Maina noted that the government has also stepped up efforts
in dealing with illicit trade and substandard goods.