Industry and development.

Position:Speech by UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar - Transcript

In the longer run, if the pace of development is to be accelerated, a rapid growth of industrial activity is indispensable. Industry must be seen as a dynamic instrument essential for rapid economic expansion and social progress in developing countries. It is doubtful if other sectors in those countries can accommodate literally hundreds of millions of new jobs required in the foreseeable future as a result of expanding populations.

It was in these circumstances that the Lima target was established under which developing countries are to account for approximately a quarter of world industrial production by the end of this century. And the International Development Strategy of the Third United Nations Development Decade called for an annual growth rate of about 9 per cent in the manufacturing output of developing countries.

I am concerned that, as indicated in the special report of the Executive Director, and the excellent UNIDO doucment "Industry in a Changing World", developing countries will not, in all probability, account for more than 15 per cent of world industrial capacity by the end of the century if present trends continue. That would represent a significant shortfall with adverse consequences for millions of individuals.

Action is therefore urgently needed on several fronts not only to reactivate industrial production in the immediate future but also to expand the over-all industrial capacity in the developing countries on a long-term and sustained basis.

In the short run, the reactivation of industrial production is intimately related to the over-all health of the world economy. Many developing countries are operating their existing industrial capacity at well below normal levels, as resources are lacking for imports of necessary raw materials, spare parts and transport equipment. In a large number of developing countries, industrial production is curtailed by lack of markets at home as well as abroad.

Steps will therefore be required to provide for balance-of-payments finance, the alleviation of the debt burden and the immediate roll back of protectionist measures against developing countries. Not only will such measures enable those countries to operate their existing industrial capacity at higher levels, but an impulse of thise nature will provide vigour to the pace of global economic growth.

Such action will be more effective if developing countries also strive for greater efficiency in their industrial sectors through...

To continue reading