ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- African leaders have committed to "far-reaching and firm decisions" to accelerate industrialization as well as economic diversification and trade on the continent.
The African Union (AU) said in a statement issued Thursday that during the AU Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification held last week in Niger, the leaders reiterated to accelerate industrialization and economic diversification, with priorities on health and pharmaceutical, automotive, minerals benefaction, food and nutrition, and apparels of cotton industries in order to reduce the continent's external dependency.
They further underscored the need to increase investments in infrastructure and energy with the support of financial institutions and partners to reduce production costs, and boost the competitiveness of the African economies, it said.
They further agreed on the development of sustainable special economic zones and industrial parks while supporting existing ones.
In order to ensure inclusive and sustainable industrialization, African leaders and other stakeholders will also have regular dialogue with the private sector.
They also agreed to establish, at the national level, programs for industrial linkages between the educational system and the labor market, aimed at promoting the competitiveness of the private sector through the development of soft and hard skills necessary for industrialization in particular in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The AU, working with development partners, will also produce and disseminate amongst member states an annual Africa's Industrial Development Report based on an African Industrial Development Index, and fast-track the establishment of the African Industrial Observatory. ■