2010 African Economic Outlook Peer Review Meeting in Tunis: Partnership to Ensure Consistent and High-Quality Analysis

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Bank Group experts with their counterparts from OECD Development Centre, the EU and UNECA, on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 in Tunis, pursued their peer review meeting on the African Economic Outlook. Tuesday’s meeting was devoted to brainstorming by the various working groups. The meeting also served as a platform for the Economic Development and Research Department Director, Léonce Ndikumana, to express his satisfaction with participants’ commitments to the country reviews underway.

On the sidelines of the event, he shed light on key issues relating to the continent’s economy. Explaining the relevance of the collaboration to the implementation of the African Economic Outlook, Mr. Ndikumana said the AEO project was built on the respective strengths of its core partners, which enjoyed financial support from the European Commission.  “It also benefits from the expertise and contributions of research institutes in 10 Bank Group RMCs, as well as the involvement of AfDB staff as country note authors, peer reviewers, and discussants”. He added that “This year the AEO has a record participation of country economists in operations, including several colleagues based in field offices”.

During the peer review meeting, experts discussed, not only macroeconomic and structural developments on the continent, but also political and governance issues. “Economic development and good governance are certainly closely linked, Mr. Ndikumana explained, adding that “Each country note devotes a section to recent changes in the political situation and economic governance that present annual updates in this area.” He also observed that every year, the AEO addresses a particular theme of high relevance to the continent.  

Asked if the continent should continue to rely on aid, while developed countries are also seriously hit by the financial crisis resulting in bankruptcies and high rates of unemployment, the EDRE director explained that the thematic discussions in the country notes and the Africa-wide synthesis would present information on the situation and prospects of mobilizing resources for development with a view to addressing the large investment needs in RMCs. “We think, African countries should become less dependent on external financial resources,” Mr. Ndikumana stressed, underscoring that “They should rather strengthen accountability and public spending legitimacy by establishing stronger links between governments and tax-paying citizens. This would enhance public resource mobilization.”

Since 2007, the AfDB has taken over the role of a lead partner in the collaborative project with OECD and UNECA, and it is responsible for coordinating the preparation of the African Economic Outlook Report. It is also responsible for undertaking key parts of the analysis, notably the overview of economic developments on the continent, the preparation of the economic forecasts, and the drafting of the majority of country notes. The peer review meeting brings together contributors to the 2010 AEO in order to discuss a detailed country-level analysis on the economic situation and prospects for RMCs.  It is a very important gathering to ensure consistent, high-quality analysis across all the 50 countries that will be covered in this year’s report.