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Are we really united to tackle climate change? What if Africa needs its own resources for a low-carbon development? In this panel discussion we want to address (green) industrialisation and structural transformation in Africa, what it means and requires. How can African countries achieve a sustainable, socially inclusive and people-centred transition? How could African economies develop their manufacturing base, in view of asymmetrical power relations in global production networks and within the world trade regime? And how should this transformation be financed?
Industrialisation is fundamental to welfare and sovereign economic development. However, many African countries depend on raw material exports and have not industrialised successfully or have even de-industrialised. In Sub-Sahara Africa, employment in manufacturing is the lowest worldwide, accounting for only about five percent of the population. This deficiency results in foreign dependency as well as poverty.
The economic downturn that followed the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred debates about industrial policies and structural transformation in Africa. Hopes for a stronger regional integration through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) point to the need of expanding production in African countries, in order to benefit from trade.
It is clear: industrial development needs massive investment and technical support. Moreover, in the face of climate change, structural transformation has to solve environmental problems and should not create new ones. A low-carbon “green” industrialization of Africa could therefore mean that the continent has to use its own resources. This could run counter to new “green colonial” patterns where the global North is again trying to reap African resources to transform its own “brown” carbon economies.
is a Project Manager in the Environment Department of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna. She coordinates UNIDO’s efforts under the Partnership for Action on Green Economy and Green Industry Initiative. At UNIDO, she has supported developing countries in policymaking on green industry, circular economy development as well as managing investment projects to eliminate harmful chemicals from industrial processes. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Imperial College London, MSc in Environmental Science, Legislation and Management from Brunel University London and undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
is Division Manager of the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Previously Mr. Shimeles has worked for the World Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ACTIONAID, and Addis Ababa University in different capacities. He has co-authored several books on African industrialization, like the AfDB’s “Industrialize Africa” report of 2017, and co-edited the United Nations University UNU-WIDER’s “Manufacturing Transformation. Comparative Studies of Industrial Development in Africa and Emerging Asia.” His research interests also include labor market integration, migration as well as impact evaluation of policy interventions. He holds a PhD in economics from University of Goteborg, MSC from Delhi School of Economics and undergraduate degree in economics from Addis Ababa University.
is a political economist, author and public speaker. Her latest book “The Case for the Green New Deal” of 2019 (dt. “Green New Deal: Warum wir können, was wir tun müssen“) explains how we can afford what we can do, and what we need to do, before it is too late. „The Production of Money” (dt. “Die Produktion des Geldes”) of 2017 explained the nature of money and the monetary system to a wide audience. Already in 2006 she predicted the Global Financial Crisis in her book “The Coming First World Debt Crisis”. Ann Pettifor is Director of PRIME, Policy Research in Macroeconomics, as well as (amongst others) Council Member of the Progressive Economy Forum, Chair of the advisory board of Goldsmith’s College Political Economy Research Centre and fellow of the New Economics Foundation. Ann Pettifor has led the Jubilee 2000 campaign, which was part of a successful international movement that led to the cancellation of 100 billion USD of debt owed by the poorest countries. Ann was born in South Africa and took her degree in politics and economics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
is the head of the Global Sociology and Development Research Unit at the Institute of Sociology at Johannes Kepler University, Linz, and is a VIDC consultant.
is the head of the EU and International Affairs Department at the Chamber of Labour Vienna.
works at the VIDC on international economic and finance policy issues. She focuses on transformation & climate as well as tax & development.