Promoting Sustainable Industrialisation is emphasised at the High Level Dialogue on Realising the Promises of Green Growth: Promoting Sustainable Industrialisation in Uganda

Apr 11, 2017

Dr. Oqubay explains how Ethiopia has is promoting sustainable industrialisation through focus on clean sources of energy as well as eco industrial parks during the High level dialogue on realising the promises of green growth: promoting sustainable industrialisation in Uganda. (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2017)

Kampala - Pursuing sustainable green growth is no longer a fancy global catch word but a sound economic strategy.

This was emphasised by Dr. Arkebe Oqubay while delivering his key note address at the High Level Dialogue on Realising the Promises of Green Growth: Promoting Sustainable Industrialisation in Uganda, held in Kampala.

Dr. Oqubay is a Minister and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the author of the book Made in Africa - showcased how Ethiopia as an African example of how an economy can be transformed through industrialisation and infrastructural development without forsaking the environment.

He also emphasized the need to draw lessons from high income as well as low-income countries that have successfully adopted industrialisation strategies and used them to catapult their economic growth.  

“African countries,” he pointed out, “need to ‘think green’ as  they industrialise disclosing that Ethiopia had used the industrial park model and is  now setting up eco-parks that are environmentally more sustainable.”

He cited the Hawassa Industrial Park - Ethiopia’s first major eco-friendly development which is designed around energy and water conservation principles – including maximisation of natural lightning and ventilation, fitting of  power saving bulbs, recycling of rain water, and solar powered LED street lights.  

“In an era of climate change, ensuring that we follow the path of green industrialisation is every important,” Dr. Oqubay said.

Dr. Oquabay described industrialisation as a journey of learning, however in learning, countries, he advised, must pick the best practices to promote sustainable green industrialisation.

“Ethiopia,” he said, “picked best practises from North America, Asia as well as other African Countries and improved these models to suit their environment.”

Its aviation model for example was adopted from the USA enabling Ethiopian airlines to remain at the top in the continent while their vocational schools model was adopted from Germany leading the country to set up over 1000 vocational institutions and with one million graduates from them annually.

Their best practices in manufacturing were picked from the Asian economies. “Although we learnt a lot about industrialisation from the Asian countries, we realised that they had left out the green aspect which is very key in this era of climate change. We decided that we wanted to protect our environment while industrialising,” he said.

He added that Ethiopia is leveraging its industrialisation on agricultural modernisation from which the largest percentage of the country’s population gets its livelihood. Heavy investment had also been injected into power generation, and the telecommunications industry, which he described as “a cash-cow.”

“All these aspects are very key because they feed into each other to enable economic growth,” Dr. Oqubay said. He also emphasised the need for cheap power to bring down the cost of doing business and enable industries break even.

“It’s good to see that lessons on economic development and industry are being shared from fellow African countries.” Right Honourable, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister who was the guest of honour said thanking Mr. Oqubay for his illuminating address.

He added that Uganda is working towards some of the things Ethiopia has achieved such as the construction of power dams. “When the Karuma and Isimba dams are completed, the cost of power in the country should go down significantly too.”

Hon. Rugunda also agreed that the issues of green growth are key as Uganda grapples with issues of climate change and unemployment.

Ms. Rosa Malango, the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, agreed with him, saying that UNDP was spearheading efforts to promote a new approach to protect of wetlands by focusing on improving the quality of life of those who have invaded the wetlands for their survival. This new approach focuses on facilitating the sustainable relocation of communities by involving them in the planning, development and construction of environment friendly communities.

Ms Malango urged the Government and stakeholders to pay attention to sustainable industrialisation during the formulation of the new industrialisation policy and strategy.

Discussions during the event called for government to support manufacturers with affordable financing options, addressing the non-tariff barriers that affect trade with neighbouring countries as well as the stigma around local products.

Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, the Trade and Cooperatives Minister answering to some of these queries said that the Ministry was now promoting the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy to encourage Ugandans to buy locally manufactured products. This, she hopes, will also increase the level of industrialisation.

The High Level Dialogue on Realising the Promises of Green Growth: Promoting Sustainable Industrialisation in Uganda was hosted by the Ministry of Trade Industry and cooperatives with collaboration from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as well as Makerere University, Kampala.

It was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from the Government, Development Partners, Civil Society, Private Sector as well as Academia.

Dr. Oqubay addresses public lecture at Makerere University: After the High-Level Dialogue, Dr. Oqubay addressed a public lecture at Makerere University where he asked students to get involved in the industrialisation and economic growth of Uganda.

“When I arrived here, I was reading in the newspapers why they are no Ugandan engineers constructing Karuma dam and the manager said, Ugandan engineers prefer to be in Kampala,” he said.

“As youth, you must actively get involved in the development of your country and not let the Chinese engineers do it for you alone. You must have the passion,” Dr. Oqubay advised.

He said that there’s need to align education policies to development needs. “What is important is not the amount of money you invest in education but how the education answers the demands of the economy; does the economy need people with vocational skills or agriculturalists?”

He told the students that for an economy to grow, it must first be good at agriculture before taking on manufacturing which is more complex and called for African countries to determine their own policies and strategies instead of letting them be directed by international institutions and donor countries.