The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is pushing for an industrial and economic diversification masterplan covering all 11 countries of the Central African sub-region, the ECA said Wednesday.
The strategy will make the sub-region double its industrial contribution to gross domestic product in the coming years, which currently stands at 12 percent, officials agreed during a virtual meeting convened by the sub-regional office of the ECA.
“The project … will enable us to work together around the common value chains that will provide countries of our sub-region with the opportunity to produce, transform, distribute, and consume manufactured goods which resonate with their own needs and tastes,” Antonio Pedro, director of the ECA Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, was quoted as saying.
Officials of the two main trading blocs of the sub-region, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), underlined the need to design the masterplan to help the sub-region recover from the ravages of COVID-19.
“Diversifying and industrializing our economies is now the condition sine qua non for reconstructing our nations especially given the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Daniel Ona Ondo, president of the CEMAC Commission.
“This is an opportunity for us to ensure that Central African member States, the CEMAC Commission and the ECCAS General Secretariat work together in a dynamic team and within a common vision, towards a single document, which meets the aspirations of the peoples of the sub-region,” according to Deputy Secretary-General of the ECCAS Marie Therese Chantal Mfoula.
A time frame of one month has been set for identifying the main pillars of the masterplan to be tabled before governments of the sub-region, the ECA said.