UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that aims to improve the quality of life in developing countries, helping them to achieve sustainable industrial development goals as efficient tools to create jobs and better economic conditions. Therefore, UNIDO helps in providing the means – such as training, technology and investment opportunities – to make developing countries competitive. Similarly, it encourages production processes that do not damage the environment nor impose an undue burden on national energy resources, often available in limited quantity.
It is a great honor for me to be here today, in front of so many African delegations and Italian stakeholders that have interest in the continent. UNIDO and Africa now represent a solid union, thanks to past activities, those currently in progress, and future plans mainly directed towards opportunities created by sustainable industrial development. UNIDO aims to achieve these objectives through the involvement of local institutions, associations and the private sector. UNIDO’s database contains 3596 projects involving African countries, amounting to over 520 million USD of investments.
UNIDO ITPO Italy, which is an integral part of the UNIDO network, is interested in extending its services in terms of partnership and capacity-building with African institutions, both in public and private sectors, that share the objectives of sustainable industrial development. At the same time, our office aims at actively supporting African Small and Medium Enterprises through the development of value chains, coordination of the efforts of different ITPOs in a determined region, development of new initiatives in the renewable energies sector, integration of existing local value chains, launching pilot projects and upgrading programs of local SMEs, as well as the development of local entrepreneurship for the creation of new small enterprises (EDIP programme).
As you can see on the slide, the services that we provide are:
- Dissemination of the latest information on legal and economic conditions, investments financing and industrial cooperation opportunities.
- Identification and promotion of specific investment opportunities.
- Expertise at all stages of the creative business cycle.
- Facilitation of business contacts between sponsors and potential foreign investors.
- Activation of links with the business community and local development agencies.
One of our main instruments to have a better approach towards investment promotion is the Delegates Program. Delegates come from the institutions of developing countries that deal with investment promotion, they spend some time in our offices where they have the opportunity to become familiar with UNIDO’s methodology and to promote, with our staff’s assistance, their portfolio of investment opportunities available between the Italian entrepreneurial community. In the last 20 years, 45 delegate missions have been undertaken by ITPO Italy and have involved different countries of the African continent such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
This initiative has allowed the Italian business community to better acknowledge the great amount of opportunities available in several African countries, especially in the sectors that our office deals with, namely agro-industry and environment.
I want to conclude my brief speech by announcing that in occasion of the IV session of this conference, a debate will be held on an important argument for Africa.
Many of the African countries represented here today have a great amount of natural resources that must be uses in an adequate and sustainable manner. It is, therefore, necessary to develop and apply new growth models that will anticipate interventions and investments aimed at the establishment of long-lasting and sustainable industrial development. This is the reason why, if we really want to pursue sustainable development, we must reach global consensus on standards for the management of natural resources and the environment.