African Industrialization Day is celebrated every year on November 20 as part of African Industrial Week, bringing together many African governments and trade partners to discuss initiatives and opportunities that can advance industrialization efforts across the continent. Through various summits and seminars on the day, it is an occasion that helps draw worldwide attention to the challenges of industrialization in Africa and highlights possible ways to help bolster further economic development.
History of African Industrialization Day
African Industrialization Day was established in 1989 by the United Nations to help raise awareness about the importance of industrialization as a driving factor for economic growth in the continent.
Africa is seen as the world’s least industrialized region, which greatly impacts the continent’s development and its ability to measure up against the global economy. The reasons for the slow process of industrialization in Africa are attributed to factors such as poor infrastructure, unskilled workforces, corrupt institutions, and poor investment planning. However, many countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Rwanda, and Ethiopia have implemented policies and actions in recent decades that have helped advance their industrial development.
Heightened industrial activity can help increase productivity and enhance the capabilities of the workforce by generating employment and introducing new techniques that help accelerate growth. For developing countries, industrialization is seen as a way that can guarantee higher growth rates and can lead to the diversification of their economies. Doing so will also contribute to poverty eradication, wealth creation, and strengthening of economic structures.
Over the years, there have been requests to change or integrate the agrarian and industrial structures of African economies. This is because manufacturing is regarded to have a lot of potential for helping African countries expand their investment, trade, and production output, especially when it comes to doing business with the West.
However, for these prospects to be realized, African governments must come together and commit to an industrial transformation agenda, with the effects felt by a wide range of stakeholders throughout the continent. As a result, the United States established African Industrialization Day to underscore the importance of African nations’ and their trading partners’ solidarity in moving Africa forward.
African Industrialization Day timeline
Seven European powers partake in the 'Scramble for Africa,’ colonizing almost the entire continent by 1914.
Colonial powers begin the first phases of industrialization in sub-Saharan Africa.
The United Nations declares November 20 as Africa Industrialization Day.
The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement is enacted to bolster trade amongst African nations and create more labor-intensive jobs.
African Industrialization Day FAQs
Which African countries are considered industrialized?
Many African countries have increased their industrial output in recent years. Although South Africa is the most well-known ‘industrialized’ African country, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Senegal, Rwanda, and Zambia are examples of nations that have had high levels of sustained growth as a result of expanded industrialization techniques in the recent decade.
How can industrialization help Africa?
Industrialization can help Africa address certain issues such as unemployment, economic disparity, and poverty eradication. This is done through the high growth rates and economic diversification that can take place when industrialized practices are put into focus.
What are the factors of industrialization?
Factors that can help influence and advance industrialization include the proper management of natural resources, skilled workers, technology, consumer demand, transportation and accessibility systems, and cooperative governments.
How to Observe African Industrialization Day
Attend the various African Industrialization Day seminars
Attend and observe the various online and in-person events the United Nations and many other institutions are holding in commemoration of African Industrialization Day. These events offer great insights and ideas on how to improve Africa's economic development.
Read up on African history
One way to understand why Africa is the least developed region in the world is to know the history behind it. Read up on African history, especially those written from the African point of view, to build an understanding of why Africa's economies are currently moving at a very glacial pace.
Support African businesses
Drop by your local African business and see what they have to offer. Talk to the African diaspora to strengthen your knowledge of African culture and their perspectives. By supporting African businesses abroad, you are making sure that they can maintain their prosperity in a foreign land.
The 5 Least Developed African Countries, As Of 2021
Burundi has a gross domestic product (G.D.P.) per capita of $238.99 and a Human Development Index (H.D.I.) score of 0.433.
Somalia's absence of a central government has resulted in decades of dismal development, with a G.D.P. per capita of $438 and an H.D.I. of 0.361 — the lowest in the world.
Central African Republic
Decades of war and poor government management resulted in the Central African Republic's G.D.P. per capita of $980 and an H.D.I. of 0.397.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo has a G.D.P. per capita of $1,131 and an H.D.I. of 0.480.
Niger has a G.D.P. per capita of $1,263 and an HDI of 0.394 due to decades of political instability and desertification.
Why African Industrialization Day is Important
It promotes the benefits of industrialization
African Industrialization Day is a day dedicated to promoting the economic benefits of industrialization. Industrialization can help nations evolve by providing millions of employment, altering economic structures, encouraging investment, and maintaining a continuous supply of goods and services. These processes may also include the introduction of new technology, materials, and methods to help upskill employees and ensure high-quality production.
It can help change perspectives on Africa
For far too long, Africa has been regarded as the world's poorest continent, and it is past time to reverse that perception. Many African countries, such as Senegal, Nigeria, and Rwanda, have successfully pursued their industrialization endeavors as commerce and economies have developed. According to the United Nations, African manufacturing production has increased by 17.8% since 2021, demonstrating economic growth as a result of industrialization.
It highlights the challenges that need to be tackled
Poor economic structures, policy planning, workforce quality, management, and heavy corruption are the main reasons why Africa has not seen development levels rise as much as they should. African Industrialization Day highlights all the key challenges that need to be addressed to assure growth.
African Industrialization Day dates