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Uganda Wants AU To Prioritize Agro-Mechanization, Skilling Youth

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By Denis Nsubuga

Uganda is rooting for more efforts towards increasing agricultural value-addition through mechanization of agricultural processes and skilling the youth across the African continent.

This was revealed by the trade ministry’s permanent secretary, Gerald Ssali, ahead of the African Union (AU) Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in Niamey, Niger.

She said the industrialization drive across Africa should focus on mechanization of farming, adoption of appropriate technologies, and supporting scientific research and innovations.

Ssali further noted that strengthening industry infrastructure, and skilling the African youth and women with ICTs will also prepare the continent for the fourth and fifth Industrial revolutions.

“Issues related to environment and climate-smart technologies (Green Financing) inclusiveness, harmonization of trade and taxation policies promote industrialization. We need removal of non-tarriff barriers as much as possible,” she added.

The summit, which got underway on Sunday (November 20), will run until Friday this week. It seeks to put a spotlight on the need and process of Africa’s industrialization, and it is part of Africa Industrialization Week.

AU commissioner Albert Muenda Muchanga said that it was only through industrialization and economic diversification that Africa would be competitive in the global marketplace.

The key issues for the summit include bringing skills training into step with the actual needs of the labour market; mobilizing financing for Africa’s structural transformation; and building infrastructure, especially energy.

These, experts say, will aid Africa’s economic transformation; promote commodity-based industrialization; deepen continental economic integration; harness the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and build internal research and development capabilities.

Tap into youth potential

Organisations, such as ONE Campaign, advocated for “a raft of urgent and bold policy actions” to tap youth potential towards building a better and prosperous Africa.

The summit takes place as Africa recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and grapples with after-shocks from global economic and political events.

With its booming young population that accounts for 60% of all of the continent’s jobless, Africa needs to create about 15 million new decent jobs yearly,” One Campaign stated, calling on African leaders and policymakers to commit to priority actions that are critical for driving economic prosperity and job creation through industrialisation.

The priority areas include; implementing national industrial policies that stimulate investments into sectors that are both competitive and labour-intensive, and improving the business environment to make it easy and affordable to produce goods and services, and to trade.

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