Fifty experts converged on the importance of territorial planning for competitive, inclusive industrial policies in an ECA meeting on “Territorialization of Industrial Policy and Inclusive Growth” held on 24-25 November in Tunis.
“Now that traditional, centrally decided development policies are being challenged, territories have become critical spaces for the design and implementation of industrial and development policies”, said Mr Omar Abdourahman, interim Director of the ECA office in North Africa. “Territories are also the level at which decision makers can ensure industrial and development policies have a strong inclusive dimension”, he added.
To achieve successful industrial policy territorialization, countries should apply several conditions, including good governance, an inclusive process involving stakeholders, the redistribution of powers between the central State and the territories, or the transfer of skills and know-how towards the territories, said UNDP interim Resident Representative in Tunis El Kébir Mdarhri Alaoui.
North Africa has achieved significant progress on the human development level over the last few years, however, poverty, inequalities and unemployment, especially among educated youths, have remained significant. Industrialization can help countries achieve a more inclusive development when carried out as part of suitable strategies. Like neighbouring countries, Tunisia has undergone the effects of an industrial and economic development policy which has diversified its economic activity but has not succeeded in providing non coastal regions with industrial fabrics able to generate enough jobs and inclusive development, said Tunisian Minister of Industry Zied Ladhari.
“Without a more competitive industry which can generate more added value and skilled labour and improve the equilibrium between regions, Tunisia will not be able to protect its economic take off, which may affect its democracy”, said Ladhari. The minister said his country will seize the opportunity of this workshop to learn about North African experiences and best practices in the field of industrial policy territorialization and inclusive development. The minister expressed the wish to examine opportunities for a concerted regional action to develop industries in border regions; “Such an initiative would be very important given its potential impact on social peace and even security in our countries”, he added.
During two days, experts from the North African ministries of industry, local authorities and other institutions in charge of public policy territorial planning focused their discussions on the stakes, obstacles and required reforms required in order for North African countries to benefit from successful industrial policy territorialization and inclusive development. An ECA study including their conclusions and recommendations will be put at the disposal of countries at a later date.
For more information about this meeting, please visit: http://www.uneca.org/egm-na-2016.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).