By YonasAsefa                                                                             

ADDIS ABEBA – A new United Nations report said Ethiopia’s industrialization needs to have human development as its primary end goal in order to achieve sustainable outcome.

The industrialization effort needs also to follow an inclusive and green approach that creates decent jobs, ensures gender parity, and protects the environment, says UNDP’s annual report entitled Ethiopia’s 2018 National Human Development Report (NHDR).

The report comes at a time when the country reaffirms its commitment to investments in the industrial sector, particularly in light of the country’s ambition of becoming East Africa’s hub of light manufacturing industry.

While the relationship between industrialization and human development, including gender parity, is generally positive, the report points out that that this is not an automatic outcome.

It requires conscious management in terms of the putting in place the appropriate policy, facilitating access to finance, dismantling gender barriers, and leveraging innovation, particularly through linking innovation labs to industrial parks to enhance service delivery.  

Following decades of strong economic growth, the percentage of people living below poverty in Ethiopia has declined from declined from 44.2 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent in 2016.

However, the report says inequality has also grown, particularly in urban areas. 

“The benefits and costs of the industrialization process in Ethiopia must be managed for inclusive growth,” Aeneas Chuma, UNDP Resident Representative, said, “to advance human development, uphold basic human rights of all—and as a means to end poverty and expand the choices of Ethiopians. Women’s participation and leadership is a critical outcome of the industrialization process that is people-centered and inclusive.”

A holistic approach to sustainable industrialization also calls for an integrated approach to land management, urbanization – including improvements to access to basic social services in addition to housing and linkages to the agriculture sector.

While all regions have shown progress, Harari demonstrated the biggest HDI increase relative to its standing in 2012/13, particularly noting the strongest movement in education and income.

Published under the theme Industrialization with a Human Face, the report was launched on Wednesday in the presence of senior government officials.

“This… report picks a timely and very important concern that for this industrialization effort be sustainable and effective it has to account for human development dimensions or needs to have a human face” said President Sahlework Zewde, who attended the launching of the report. (Daily Monitor)