Acting Executive Secretary, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Antonio Pedro, has challenged African countries to invest in industrial skills necessary for driving Africa’s industrial growth and economic development.
In an address at the sixth high-level event on the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) held on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, he lamented the continent’s shortage of industrial skills and professional capacity needed to achieve sustainable development.
Themed Positioning Africa’s industrial skills development, deployment and Retention: Accelerating Manufacturing’, the event was organised by the African Union Commission, UNIDO and ECA to take stock of the progress made on the IDDA III and the Accelerated Industrialisation Development for Africa (AIDA). The event was an opportunity for stakeholders on Africa’s industrialisation to exchange ideas on how best to position industrial skills development for the acceleration of Africa’s manufacturing, in critical, value-adding sectors.
He added that limited funding of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Higher Education by African governments and development partners remains a challenge and called for better consultations between governments, businesses and educational institutions to improve the outcomes of resource allocation to skills development. According to him, Africa can build on existing initiatives and scale them up to trigger transformational change.
Capacity substitution through technical assistance and the use of external contractors, service providers, and other forms of capacity acquisition allows industrial skills to be mobilised quickly for project start-ups. “It is vital that African countries take steps to transfer essential skills that are critical for strategic sectors,” he said, urging for the implementation of strategies and practical measures to safeguard and retain essential indigenous skills.
“The prosperity of a country depends on a productive labour force, which in turn rests on the skills they have and the effectiveness with which they deploy them,” he said.