Final preparations are underway for the 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group on May 21-25, 2018, in Busan, Korea, addressing “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization.” On May 22 and 24, in tandem with the Annual Meetings, the 2018 Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Conference will address, “Africa and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Opportunities for leapfrogging”
Industrialize Africa(link is external) is one of the Bank’s High 5 priorities(link is external) to speed up the continent’s development. As Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina states, “The secret of the wealth of nations is clear: developed nations add value to everything they produce, while poor nations export raw materials. Africa must quit being at the bottom of the global value chains and move rapidly to industrialize, with value addition to everything that it produces.” His comments preface Industrialize Africa: Strategies, Policies, Institutions, and Financing, a landmark publication to be widely shared at the meetings.
Korea, and Busan in particular, provide solid evidence for discussions about why some countries, especially in Africa, stagnate while others make tremendous progress thanks to industrialization. In the 1960s, Korea’s economic prospects were more challenging than those of most African countries. Today, it is at the top of the development ladder.
Korea’s industrial transformation is famous for high-tech consumer electronics, cars, ships and oil and gas platforms. Korea is currently building the world’s largest semi-submersible platform.
Africa’s lack of industries is largely responsible for its low standing in global development. African industry generates an average of US $700 of GDP per capita, barely one-fifth of East Asia’s US $3,400, which probably explains why it continues to depend for most needs on industrialized economies despite its own strong economic growth for almost two decades.
Low-tech unprocessed natural resources comprise the bulk of African exports, representing more than 80% of exports from Algeria, Angola or Nigeria, for example.
At the Annual Meetings, thousands of delegates, Heads of State, public and private sector CEOs, development partners, academics, civil society and media gather to reflect on Africa’s industrialization and related issues including climate change, infrastructure, private sector and governance.
A series of knowledge events are organized to generate new ideas for developing and financing Africa’s industrialization. The meetings will include a High-Level Presidential Dialogue: Visions, Experiments and Lessons Learned at whose panel political leaders from Africa and Korea will present their visions and strategies for industrialization and ideas for overcoming the challenges of implementation.
On Wednesday, May 23, the Bank will launch its flagship economic publication, African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2018(link is external). The following day, it will provide an overview of its operations, financial profile and capital market activities for 2017 during the Financial Presentation.