East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 28th August, 2021: The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Representative to Tanzania, Mauritius and the EAC, Dr. Stephen Bainous Kargbo, on Friday paid a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki in Arusha, Tanzania.

Welcoming his guest, the Secretary General noted the import role UNIDO had played over the years in supporting the EAC’s industrialisation efforts.

“UNIDO’s contribution to the industrialization efforts in the region remain unsurpassed,” said Dr. Mathuki.Dr. Mathuki said that the EAC Heads of State recognise that for socio-economic development to be sustainable, the EAC region must prioritise industrialisation.

“The need for the region to prioritise industrialisation has been stressed upon by our Heads of State. We now need leaders and technocrats in the region to think of a collective regional strategy to respond to unemployment including expanding the manufacturing sector’s capacity and promoting youth entrepreneurs,” said the Secretary General.

The Secretary General decried the huge amount of resources that the Community is losing in exporting raw materials, leading to the loss of jobs and investment opportunities. He reiterated the need for the region to work together in developing the manufacturing sector rather than competing against each other.

“We must develop our regional value chains, but in so doing, we must establish our comparative advantages, identifying who is best fitted to do what, and thereby establishing complementarity in the region,” he said.

On his part, the UNIDO representative said that of the EAC-UNIDO partnership has been instrumental in supporting and tracking industrial development in the region. “UNIDO will continue to play its role by supporting relevant institutions in capacity building activities for strengthening industrial policy making capacities,” said Dr. Kargbo.

The EAC-UNIDO ‘Strengthening Capacities for Industrial Formulation and Implementation in the East African Community’ Programme’ enhanced the region’s capacity to: design, manage and implement an industrial policy and collect industrial statistics and data. Further to this, the programme also strengthened the institutional capacity of the EAC Secretariat, EAC Partner States’ governments and key private sector stakeholders.

On the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), Dr. Kargbo said that the quality of industrial policies would be key in helping the region to put the necessary building blocks in place to prepare for 4IR, through linking EAC industries with international partners, arriving at shared solutions, and by providing up-to-date knowledge on industrial diagnosis and policymaking.

“We must have clear goals in mind for our industrial transitions: what we should achieve, what we can achieve, and how we should go about it,” said the UNIDO Representative.

On Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Dr. Kargbo disclosed that in 2011, UNIDO and the African Union Commission (AUC) had agreed to a partnership for the accelerated implementation of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA).

“This programme was initiated owing to the fact that Africa needed to invest in home-produced pharmaceutical products and therefore increasing access to essential medicines and enhancing export opportunities,” said Dr. Kargbo.

It is against this backdrop that the EAC Regional Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action (EAC-RPM-POA) 2012–2016 and 2017-2027 were developed to serve as a roadmap to guide the EAC towards building an efficient and effective regional pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

The two officials were in agreement that with the correct policies already in place, the Covid-19 pandemic provides a platform for the EAC Partner States to look into pharmaceutical manufacturing as a priority.

“We need to develop a strategy on how we can produce a Covid-19 vaccine as a region,” said Dr. Mathuki, adding that this would enable the region to fast-track the Covid-19 vaccination efforts and thereby reopen the region to key socio-economic activities such as trade and tourism

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