On 4 March, within the context of EU Industry Week 2021, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) held a multi-stakeholder dialogue highlighting the cooperation between UNIDO, the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), with a particular emphasis on investment and technology promotion initiatives for the increased competitiveness of developing countries.
The “ACP Business-friendly” Programme, jointly implemented by the World Bank, UNIDO and ITC, was showcased. Funded by the European Development Fund, this 34.7M Euro programme follows a tiered approach with engagements at macro, meso and micro levels in ACP countries. The interventions are expected to lead to higher volumes and better quality investments and enhanced value chain integration. There is also the need for business climate reform, SME’s skills development and peer to peer learning to be able to take advantage of the opportunities of increased digitalisation.
Mr. Escipion J. Oliveira Gómez, Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Structural Economic Transformation and Trade of the OACPS, reiterated the commitment of the Organisation to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and integration of member states into the global economy with an emphasis on gender and youth empowerment. He highlighted the importance of working with the local private sector actors to ensure that the programme is able to achieve the best results. Developing countries must create authentic products and services whilst focusing on establishing high quality and standards as a cornerstone of competitiveness. They should also develop regional and national value chains to take advantage of increased market access and make an impact on the global market.
The conference was also an opportunity for UNIDO to present its COMFAR (Computer Model for Feasibility Analysis and Reporting) software, which facilitates the analysis of industrial as well as non-industrial projects, whether new investments, rehabilitations, expansions, joint venture or privatization projects across several sectors. This tool will be implemented in support of the “ACP Business-friendly’ programme.
The EU representatives indicated that virtual tools can contribute to create more investment opportunities to support achievement of the 2030 SDG’s. It is important not to go backward as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and ensure that the level of investments is retained and that women’s economic empowerment continues to be supported. Key to this, is the launch of the “Team Europe” approach which is a philosophy of bringing together development actors including public, private, social and civil society amongst others and their capacities to multiply development impact.