The secretariat will give a brief presentation to introduce the theme of the fifty‑third session, “Africa’s sustainable industrialization and diversification in the digital era in the context of COVID-19”, drawing on the issues paper, which focuses on the need to pursue climate-resilient industrial and diversification strategies that support inclusive growth and sustainable development, while taking into account the impact of COVID-19. The paper examines the role of digitization in opening up opportunities in the agriculture, services and clean-energy sectors. It also explores the potential of technology to address issues of climate change and to promote the development of low-carbon industries. It also addresses how African countries can harness these to streamline industrialization and economic growth, in line with a new inclusive climate-economy approach. The presentation will be followed by a general discussion.