Industrial Restructuring and Upgrading Programme - Central Africa



The most notable economic characteristic of the Central African region is the abundance of raw materials. However, countries of the region have not yet transformed from resource dependence to a dynamically diversified industrial economy. Although there are significant differences within the industrial fabric of the countries in the region, it remains rudimentary, diversified to a limited extent and countries cannot respond to the demands of the regional market. Central Africa is also characterized by a poorly advanced private sector. The contribution of SMEs/SMIs and the manufacturing sector to GDP are rather low. In addition the environment in which companies operate is unfavorable to private sector development.

For this reason the 10th European Development Fund’s (EDF) Regional Strategy Paper for Central Africa emphasized economic integration and the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), where the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) allocated around 65% of its resources. In this context the Programme to Support Trade and Economic Integration (PACIE) intends to boost Central Africa in its efforts to achieve regional economic integration and its sustainable integration into the world economy.

The Industrial Restructuring and Upgrading Programme in Central Africa is an integral part of component 2 of the PACIE (Competitiveness, Trade and Common Market) and aims at helping to strengthen productive capacities in the Central African region. The aim of this is to enable the sub-region to cope, on a sustained basis, with the twofold challenge of regional and global integration.



UNIDO’s technical assistance seeks to stimulate competitiveness and regional integration, to enhance industries, and spur growth in employment as well as promote accessibility of manufactured goods from Central Africa into regional and international markets. More specifically the project aims to upgrade and modernize companies, to improve access to finance, to support institutions which assist companies activities and to strengthen entrepreneurial culture and entrepreneurship. In so doing, the project will benefit from UNIDO’s technical competences and experience acquired from upgrading and modernization Programmes already in place in other African countries (in Tunisia, Senegal and Tanzania…).

These objectives will be achieved through an approach based on 4 components:


  • Component 1: Strengthen regional institutional capacities related to industrial upgrading and support for the private sector ;
  • Component 2: Strengthen capacities of support structures providing assistance to the private sector ;
  • Component 3: Support the national structures of the Programme and improvement of the business environment ;
  • Component 4: Pilot Programme – enterprise upgrading and business competitiveness.



Ensuring enhanced competitiveness and performance of SMEs as well as the development of industrial sector in Central African countries will require the following outputs:


  • Regulatory and business frameworks in Central African countries, that are enhanced and harmonized regionally, in order to improve competitiveness of manufacturing SMEs ;
  • Industry support institutions (public and private) and the consultancy sector assisted through capacity building. This involves assistance to industry support institutions through provision of tools and methodologies to improve services provided regionally and nationally in addition to expanding and enhancing the quality of the services offered by Business Development Services (BDS) providers ;
  • Manufacturing SMEs operating in selected value chains will be assisted to improve their overall market position, financial performance, management capacity, organizational and process quality, and operational capacities, with the aim of improving their competitiveness and regional market share.



The Programme covers seven countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and São Tome and Principe.

The main stakeholders of the project are the following:


  • Industrial manufacturing SMEs and craft industries eligible for industrial upgrading (in addition to service companies linked to industrial activities according to the identified needs) ;
  • Support and management structures of the industrial sector ;
  • Public administrations ;
  • Professional organizations of the private sector and producer associations ;
  • Financial institutions ;
  • Consulting firms and individual consultants ;
  • Academic institutions and vocational training institutions.



The Programme is funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) in cooperation with the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC). It is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).