<i>By African Regional Coverage, IISD</i>

This year's Africa Industrialization Day, which is observed annually on 20 November, aimed to shine a spotlight on the challenge of “Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Industrial Development."

In a joint statement issued for the Day, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the African Union (AU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said access to clean, modern forms of energy not will only contribute to achieving the MDGs, but also serve as a "building block" for industrialization.

UNIDO convened a symposium and panel discussion in Vienna, Austria, on 21 November 2011, on "Tackling Energy Poverty in Africa to Increase Productivity and Economic Development." It also convened an interactive panel in New York, US, on 22 November 2011, on "Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Industrial Development in Africa," in view of the UN Secretary-General's recently launched global initiative on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL).

On the Day, the President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said that although the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) continues to work tirelessly across the continent to further access to clean energy services, critical gaps remain. He called for African countries to work together to overcome energy poverty.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for ensuring reliable, efficient and affordable energy services for advancement in industrial development, and particularly to encourage the creation of small and medium enterprises as well as increase energy access for rural populations.

Originated in 1989, the Day was established to encourage reflection on progress made towards achieving strategic and sustainable development in Africa.

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