Monday, 10 June 2013

Industrialisation will enhance economic competitiveness – visiting Unido chief


Dr Kandeh K.Yumkella during the meeting yesterday. 
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) will work with the government to design a new industrialisation strategy that will elevate the country’s industrial sector.

This was announced by the  visiting Unido Director General, Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella, in an interview with The New Times yesterday.

He is in the country for a two-day visit, where he is expected to meet top government officials to discuss various developmental issues.

Dr Kandeh said for the country to sustain its economic development, it was imperative to divert to competent industrialisation strategy what he said would help enhance the country’s economic competitiveness on the regional and international markets.

“We are going to design our new programme for the country which will include a new industrialisation vision which will eventually be part of the country’s poverty reduction strategy that the country has. We have also agreed to put more emphasis on agro-business sector that will create jobs for the citizens,” the UN official said.

He added that with the current rapid economic transformation it would be prudent for the country’s new industrial strategy to be linked with other sectors like education and mining for effective implementation.

Dr Kandeh said some countries like South Africa and Mauritius had succeeded in developing valuable industrialisation policies through deliberate linkage with other sectors.

“There is no other country that will come and industrialise Rwanda; it’s the people themselves and government needs to embark on infrastructure development, especially those linking with other regional countries,” he said.

Rwanda is among one of the countries with weak industrialisation sector and is faced by different challenges like land insufficiency, limited skilled labour force, inadequate energy as well as limited local raw materials which leads to high costs of products on the market.

The government recently outlined goals for Industrial Policy which are also stipulated in Vision 2020 and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II): to ensure transformational industrial growth that would make Rwanda competitive. Industry is expected to account for 26 per cent of GDP by 2020.

Speaking after meeting with the visiting official, Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba said despite the challenges, government is keen to expand and facilitate local industries.

“We agreed that we should sit down and design a new strategy but what we need as government is for Unido to focus much on policy support to fine-tune our industrialisation policy by refining the agro- processing industries in a well coordinated manner,” he told The New Times.

He said there are some small and medium industries that are weak and operating under capacity, adding it was among the factors hindering them from being competitive on the regional market.

The government has established a Special Economic Zone in Kigali that will host industrial parks as part of  broader efforts to develop the industrial sector.

If successfully established, the zone will provide employment opportunities to locals, lead to growth of industries and as well as help consumers access goods and services in a single area.  

Rwanda’s economy primarily depends on agriculture with almost 80 per cent of the population involved in farming and livestock rearing.  Experts say there is need to diversify and develop industrial sector for the benefit of citizens.


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