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Director General Li Yong stresses commitment to inclusive, sustainable industrial development during first visit to Africa

ADDIS ABABA, 9 October 2013 – On his first visit to Africa since taking office, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), LI Yong, highlighted the Organization’s strong focus on inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

During a meeting with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn, who is Chairman of the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government, Director General LI said that UNIDO attached great importance to the continent's development in general and to assisting the Least Developed Countries in particular.

“It is so important for Africa to find a tool to open the door of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in order to take off during the next decades,” said LI. He stressed that "today the world needs a development model that ensures prosperity for all, safeguards human dignity and provides jobs for young people”.

LI Yong also met the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, and the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Fatima Haram Acyl, as well as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Carlos Lopes.  

Senior officials of the AUC expressed their personal appreciation of LI Yong's new vision for the future of UNIDO and stressed the need for greater industrialization in Africa, as defined by Agenda 2063, an approach adopted by the Special Summit of African Heads of States celebrating the 50th anniversary of the African Union held in May 2013.

"You will have the support of Africa because the continent will never reach development goals unless it is industrialized. Growth should be transformative, inclusive and sustainable in the continent," said the Chairperson of the AUC, Dlamini-Zuma. 

Director General LI shared his vision for the future of UNIDO with African ambassadors and permanent representatives to the AUC in the context of the continuing deliberations about Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.

He reaffirmed UNIDO's commitment to continue its strong support for the countries of Africa through technical cooperation and advisory services based on the concept of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.