Economic development in Africa: The potential of Africa to capture technology-intensive global supply chains

Action taken by the Trade and Development Board 2024
Economic development in Africa: The potential of Africa to capture technology-intensive global supply chains
Agreed Conclusions 579 (EX-LXXIV)
Closing plenary meeting
30 Jan 2024


The Trade and Development Board

  1. Welcomes the UNCTAD secretariat’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2023: The Potential of Africa to Capture Technology-Intensive Global Supply Chains, and commends the new insights provided in the report on how Africa can be a strategic partner for international companies to diversify their supply chains;
  2. Recognizes that Africa needs significant investment in infrastructure to bolster its position as a supply chain destination;
  3. Highlights the positive impact that diversification of production and trade can have on the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development, and recognizes the need for African economies to grow beyond their commodity dependence and unlock capabilities to achieve value creation and value capture in global supply chains;
  4. Recognizes that African countries can improve their competitive and productive position in supply chains through industrialization, based on the development of technology-intensive capacities, digitalization, local innovation, improvement in infrastructure, institutions and regulatory frameworks and access to capital, as well as addressing fragmented markets and political risks, with the support of environmental, social and governance investment and appropriate technology transfer on mutually agreed terms;
  5. Notes Africa’s abundance of critical minerals and metals, which are vital components in technology-intensive industries, and urges African countries to secure better mining contracts and exploration licences, in line with international commitments, for metals used in high-technology products and supply chains and to strengthen domestic industries and firms to participate in value addition and high-technology supply chains;
  6. Welcomes the opportunity for the African Continental Free Trade Area and relevant regional institutions to provide a platform and policy incentives to promote technology-intensive industries, encourage local and regional content competitive advantage, in line with international commitments, facilitate local and regional market linkages and strengthen the industrial capabilities of African firms, with the goal of achieving inclusive and sustainable development outcomes;
  7. Encourages the adoption and implementation of policy incentives to develop regional manufacturing and supply chain capabilities in Africa, in technology-intensive industries such as automotive, electronics, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals;
  8. Underscores the need for sustainable financing options, including supply chain finance and inclusive novel finance tools for small and medium-sized enterprises, that can provide innovative solutions for developing transformative linkages and increasing Africa’s participation in global supply chains;
  9. Calls upon Governments, policymakers, financial institutions, economic actors, corporate businesses and development partners to support the streamlining and digitalization of administrative processes, making them transparent and accessible to all investors in order to facilitate production and trade, as well as reinforce efforts for gender equality and decent work;
  10. Highlights the value of diversified supply chains in building productive capacities for structural transformation and strengthening resilience, as well as notes the opportunities of comparative advantage in African countries;
  11. Recognizes UNCTAD economic research and policy analysis and data tools to support African countries, including the productive capacities index, in their efforts to integrate into global markets and supply chains, and requests UNCTAD to deepen its institutional and productive-capacity programmes on key policies to strengthen local capabilities for innovating, producing and delivering goods and services across regional and global supply chains.