Africa must industrialize to fulfill its economic potential. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda, we need to support Africa in accelerating its development by promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization.
Inclusive industrialization means ensuring that no one is left behind, especially not women. Including women is critical, not only because gender equality is a fundamental human right, but also because it enables faster economic growth, shared prosperity and sustainable development. The 2016 Global Gender Gap report shows a positive correlation between gender equality and gross domestic product, economic competitiveness and human development. The economic benefits of increasing female labor force participation are real. The OECD estimates that GDP would increase by 12% if participation rates for women were to reach those of men by 2030.
We must recognize the importance of the gender equality-industrialization nexus particularly in the African context. The 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will bring this interlinkage to the fore, as both SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 9 on the industry, innovation, and infrastructure will undergo in-depth review. Like many of the goals included in the 2030 Agenda, gender equality is not only a goal in itself, but also a means to accomplish other development goals.