53rd session of the Economic Commission for Africa

Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development

Africa’s sustainable industrialization and diversification in the digital era
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 to Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

CoM 2020

Following global health concerns pertaining to the COVID-19 coronavirus and the need for added vigilance, upon consultation with partners, the ECA will postpone all public meetings until further notice. These include the 2020 Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. ECA  will reach out to ministers to discuss member states preparedness.

Most countries that have developed did so through industrialization. But the world in which this traditional route to development took, however, is changing. Digital technologies are propelling us into the fourth industrial revolution. But, anthropogenic carbon emissions are changing our climate, and triggering atypical fluctuations in weather conditions globally such as rises in temperature, and increased risks of flood, drought and agricultural shocks. The result is a world that requires new strategies if development is to continue.

The fifty-third session of the Conference of Ministers will feature deliberations on digitization and its impacts, including the challenges and the means through which it is forcing a character makeover of the technology industry. The focus will be on how digitization is opening up opportunities in agriculture, services and clean energy, and how these can help spur the processes of industrialization and diversification, while providing options for adapting to climate change, including methods to ensure resilience. The discussions will highlight Africa’s endowment of clean energy potential, and the risks of expensive environmental damage.

Sustainability must be recognized and affirmed as central to sustainable development – African development strategies in this changing world must account for a sustainable blue economy, green growth and smart cities.

The upcoming Conference of Ministers presents a call for action, and a chance for us all to take an active part in ensuring that Africa prepares adequately for the world ahead.