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ICSOE 2022 forum underlines the urgent need for accelerated diversification in Central and Eastern Africa

17 November, 2022
ICSOE 2022 forum underlines the urgent need for accelerated diversification in Central and Eastern Africa

Victoria, Seychelles, 17 November 2022 (ECA) - The joint Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts meeting organised by two offices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Central and Eastern Africa, in collaboration with the Government of Seychelles was held (ICSOE) on 15-17 November in Mahe Seychelles.

The High-level policymakers, heads of international organizations, the private sector, representatives of youth groups, UN Officials, academia and the media at the meeting called for collective solutions, cooperation and coherent action to enhance diversification as key to hedging against inflation.

A diversified approach to our economies will help African countries navigate a variety of different environments,” says Jean Luc Mastaki, acting Director of ECA in Central Africa, while discussing the uncertainty around the current inflationary scenario. Mama Keita, Director of ECA in Eastern Africa also stressed that “Diversification can stand a better chance of delivering resilient economies and better performance in changing and unstable environments".

The meeting was held under the theme “Strengthening resilience, economic growth and diversification in a context of instability and shocks: the role of Special Economic Zones, innovative financing, tourism and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).” 

AfCFTA and Job creation

Participants at the ICSOE underscored the role of trade and investment in infrastructure that supports the private sector to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA offers immense trade opportunities. The continent is home to the fastest-growing population globally, with numbers expected to rise by nearly 50% over the next 14 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035. 

The meeting also underlined the need for digital technologies in the production value chain as essential to create the needed jobs in Africa and to transform our economies to achieve the Sustainable development agenda 2030 and Africa we want Agenda 2063. 


Create value chains such as the one on batteries throughout Africa

As many countries plan to increase their share of electric vehicles on their roads, how ready is Africa to service these markets? Participants in Seychelles pondered this question while discussing how the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can leverage its abundant cobalt resources and hydroelectric power to become a low-cost producer of lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

According to ECA, Electric vehicles represent a $7 trillion market opportunity between today and 2030, and $46 trillion between today and 2050, according to the new report


Prospects of urban Tourism

The need to strengthen the tourism sector beyond national parks and nice beaches was also discussed. Countries were called to fully harness the tourism opportunities presented by the urban areas which have largely remained underdeveloped.

Participants largely discussed how to develop key flagship products based on the urban areas' comparative and competitive advantage. This will enable African urban areas individually brand and position themselves based on their uniqueness.

 Nearly 120 participants from 20 African countries attended the hybrid meeting.


Note to the editor

About ECA in Eastern Africa

Located in Kigali-Rwanda, the Subregional Office for Eastern Africa specializes in deepening subregional integration in Eastern Africa towards the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  The Office covers 7countries: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.


About ECA in Central Africa

Located in Yaoundé-Cameroun, the Subregional Office for Central Africa specializes in achieving economic diversification and structural transformation in the region. The office covers seven countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.


Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826


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