• Excellencies, Heads of State and Government
  • Mr Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I commend UNIDO for its continued commitment and support for Africa’s industrial transformation agenda.

The partnership between Rwanda and UNIDO exemplifies this, and I look forward to our continued collaboration.

Despite Africa’s solid economic performance in recent decades, the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed some of our gains.

Nevertheless, the crisis has shown the importance of industrialization, for getting our economies back on track.

Allow me to share a few points, on how we can work together, to ensure that Africa reaches its manufacturing potential.

First, trade should be a key component of the continent’s strategy.

If the African Continental Free Trade Area is successfully implemented, the manufacturing sector is expected to double in size in the coming decade, creating over 14 million jobs.

Second, the use of digital technologies should be prioritized to raise productivity and facilitate cross-border trade.

Finally, clean and green strategies must be the forefront of our industrial policy, reflecting the urgency of the climate crisis.

Africa’s vast resources give us a comparative advantage, but we need to see more tangible results for our people, from this immense wealth.

That means, above all, investing in people and in the skills that drive industrialization.

Let’s continue working together, to make this happen.

Allow me to close with a tribute to the outgoing Director General, Mr Li Yong, for his eight years of distinguished service.

I also extend a warm welcome to the incoming Director General, Dr Gerd Müller, and wish him every success.

I thank you for your kind attention.