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Statement by Ambassador Küntzle on TOP 9 'Decade for Africa' of the 4th UNIDO IDB session, November 2020

Speech

UNIDO – 48th Industrial Development Board

Statement by H. E. Mr. Gerhard Küntzle, Permanent Representative,

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

of the Federal Republic of Germany

23 – 25 November 2020

TOP 9: Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa


Director General,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the last decade, Africa has been the focus of German development cooperation, with

more than 2 billion Euros of bilateral aid supporting over 40 African partner countries.

Germany is convinced that Africa can have a bright future! Africa is a dynamic continent

with high growth rates, a current population of 1.2 billion people, a wealth of biodiversity

and raw materials, and a creative youth, that is in need for a future that is socially stable

and economically safe.

However, like in the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll also on

African economies. According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s GDP will decline by

up to 3.7 percent in 2020, and it is estimated that foreign direct investment in Africa will

decrease substantially and that millions of people face unemployment.

Even before the pandemic, Germany has made a new start in its co-operation with African

countries, with an even stronger focus on trade, private sector investment and innovation

as well as employment and economic participation. As part of the G20 Compact with Africa

and in cooperation with international partners and organisations, Germany intends to

promote macroeconomic stability, economic development and debt sustainability in the

participating countries, thereby improving the framework and investment conditions for

private sector engagement. In its Agenda 2063 the African Union asks for means and

resources to enable Africa to drive its own development. For this to happen, we will need a

new kind of cooperation. Africa needs African solutions.

Against this background, Germany, in 2017, initiated the Marshall Plan with Africa, that

focuses on economic activity, trade and employment, peace and security, democracy and

the rule of law. This approach is complemented by cross-sectional issues such as food and

agriculture; protecting the climate and natural resources; energy and infrastructure; and

health, education and social protection. With the Marshall Plan, we want to pursue a

cooperative model based on African ownership, partnership and responsibility.

But let us be clear: Official development assistance (ODA) alone cannot resolve the

development challenges on the African continent. Hence the need to mobilize substantially

higher domestic resources and private investment. And this is also where UNIDO has a role

to play. As the only UN organization whose mandate corresponds to SDG 9 –

industrialization and innovation – , UNIDO has become a key multilateral partner for the

German government in its area of expertise.

In the framework of the reform partnerships which Germany has concluded with African

countries, we have launched a “Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation”. This

initiative aims at creating 100,000 new jobs and 30,000 new training opportunities. In order

to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now also focussing on preserving

jobs that may otherwise be lost. The project agreement signed with UNIDO on job creation

and vocational training in Ethiopia and Senegal is the largest project Germany has had with

UNIDO so far, and both countries are among the first with whom UNIDO started its PCP

Partnership. As we have already mentioned during the General Debate, we are planning to

further increase funding for this initative next year.

Moreover, in June 2019, the German government launched the Development Investment

Fund. This fund takes the form of a support package of 1 billion euros for German and

European companies that want to get involved in Africa, and also for African companies

seeking financial resources. In addition Germany encourages efforts to strengthen inter-

African trade and diversify exports by supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area

AfCFTA. Under Germany’s current Presidency of the EU Council, we support the idea of a

new EU-Africa partnership, which also puts a strong focus on harnessing the power of the

private sector to create employment. We will also need to integrate the lessons learnt from

the current COVID-19 crisis so as to “build back better”. In order to implement the 2030

Agenda, the Agenda 2063 and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa

successfully, we will require strong partnerships with multiple stakeholders, including

greater private sector engagement. Let me repeat what has been stated many times before:

This decade must be a “decade of delivery”.

Thank you very much!

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