Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes spoke at the African Transformation Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday about Africa's need for industrialization.
The forum was organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation, which was started in 2008 as a think and do tank to assist African countries with the skills and resources needed for progress and growth.
During his speech, Lopes specified the type of industrialization needed, saying that it was dependent on the conditions of the continent, which would be connected to its agricultural transformation.
Despite its population and growth, Africa still contains the highest proportion of individuals in poverty. Due to the continent's size, there is a strong need for food processing; industrializing agricultural outputs would achieve success for the internal market and increase productivity. As of now, Africa imports 83 percent of processed foods, including meat and dairy.
The transformation needs to not only include a reallocation of agriculture, industry and service sectors, but also sustainability and inclusiveness.
According to Lopes, Africa would benefit from the expansion of commodities value chains, using agro-business as a boost.
"It is not just producing the manufactured goods. It is about transforming the society’s structural production into much high gear," Lopes said.