By Li Yong, UNIDO Director General
Africa must industrialise to fulfill its economic potential. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda, we need to support Africa in accelerating its development by promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation.
Inclusive industrialisation means ensuring that no one is left behind, especially not women. Including women is critical, not only because gender equality is a fundamental human right, but also because it enables faster economic growth, shared prosperity and sustainable development. The 2016 Global Gender Gap report1 shows a positive correlation between gender equality and gross domestic product, economic competitiveness and human development. The economic benefits to increasing female labor force participation are real. The OECD estimates that GDP would increase by 12% if participation rates for women were to reach those of men by 2030.2
We must recognise the importance of the gender equality-industrialisation nexus particularly in the African context. The 2017 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will bring this interlinkage to the fore, as both SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure will undergo in-depth review. Like many of the goals included in the 2030 Agenda, gender equality is not only a goal in itself, but also a means to accomplish other development goals.
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Unlock the potential of African entrepreneurs for accelerating Africa’s industrial transformation, says the African Economic Outlook 2017
AfricanEconomicOutlook.org offers comprehensive and comparable data and analysis of 54 African economies.