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
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!