The 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group commences on Monday, May 21, 2018, in Busan, Korea, addressing “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialisation.” It ends on Friday, May 25.
On May 22 and 24, in tandem with the Annual Meetings, the 2018 Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Conference holds, with the theme: “Africa and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Opportunities for leapfrogging?”
Industrialise Africa is one of the AfDB’s High 5 priorities to speed up the continent’s development. The bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, states, “The secret of the wealth of nations is clear: developed nations add value to everything they produce, while poor nations export raw materials. Africa must quit being at the bottom of the global value chains and move rapidly to industrialise, with value addition to everything that it produces.”
His comments, the organisation says, preface “Industrialise Africa: Strategies, Policies, Institutions, and Financing”, a publication to be shared at the meetings.
Busan is said to provide evidence for discussions about why some countries, especially in Africa, stagnate while others make tremendous progress via industrialisation. In the 1960s, Korea’s economic prospects were considered more challenging than those of most African countries. Today, however, the country is regarded as being at the top of the development ladder.
Korea’s industrial transformation is famous for high-tech consumer electronics, cars, ships and oil and gas platforms. Korea is currently building the world’s largest semi-submersible platform.
Africa’s lack of industries is said to be largely responsible for its low standing in global development. African industry generates an average of $700 of GDP per capita, barely one-fifth of East Asia’s $3,400, which probably explains why it continues to depend for most needs on industrialised economies despite its own strong economic growth for almost two decades, according to the AfDB.
It notes that low-tech unprocessed natural resources comprise the bulk of African exports, representing more than 80% of exports from Algeria, Angola or Nigeria, for example.
At the AfDB meetings, thousands of delegates, Heads of State, public and private sector CEOs, development partners, academics, civil society and media are expected to gather to reflect on Africa’s industrialisation and related issues including climate change, infrastructure, private sector and governance.
A series of knowledge events are organised to generate new ideas for developing and financing Africa’s industrialisation. The meetings will include a High-Level Presidential Dialogue: Visions, Experiments and Lessons Learned at whose panel political leaders from Africa and Korea will present their visions and strategies for industrialisation and ideas for overcoming the challenges of implementation.
On Wednesday, May 23, the AfDB will launch its flagship economic publication, the “African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2018”. The following day, it will provide an overview of its operations, financial profile and capital market activities for 2017 during the Financial Presentation.