AfDB Convenes Inaugural Economic Conference (AEC)

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AfDB Convenes Inaugural Economic Conference (AEC)

Enhancing the Bank’s Role as purveyor of Knowledge

Tunis, 17 November 2006 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is convening its inaugural event for Africa’s economists, think thanks, researchers, and development experts  in Tunis from 22 to 24 November, 2006.

The AEC is being organized under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Economist, Louis Kasekende, with the objective of enhancing the AfDB’s role as a Knowledge Institution, adopted in July 2006 following in a new organizational structure to reposition the Bank. The Bank is obliged to increasingly complement its financial services with knowledge services to enhance development effectiveness and add value for its clients. To this end, a new Chief Economist was appointed to oversee, guide, and coordinate all knowledge-related activities across the Bank.

"…The AfDB must strive to become a knowledge institution, a first point of call for economic development issues on the Continent. It cannot be otherwise. It is we Africans who will develop our continent, and the knowledge of our potential, our challenges, our failures, our strategy to overcome them is the starting point. I intend to accelerate this process," President Donald Kaberuka emphasized in his inauguration speech last year.

Over the three days of plenary and thematic sessions, experts will examine and explore Africa’s growth prospects, take a closer look at existing and outstanding issues, and attempt to chart the way forward. They will discuss thematic issues including "Wealth Creation and Equity in Africa," examining such areas of interest as state investments in people, the growth-employment nexus, service delivery and income distribution in African countries. 

The AEC will also discuss "Trade, Regional Integration and Sectoral Policies", focusing on intra-African trade and regional integration, the challenges and prospects of relaxing constraints to export supply, Africa’s development prospects under the multilateral and bilateral trade arrangements, and relations between Africa and the emerging economies of China and India. Other conference themes include "Finance, Resource mobilization and Investment", and "Growth and sectoral policy issues".

More than 250 eminent persons including world class economists, development specialists, researchers, senior government officials and representatives of the local and international media will attend the three-day event.

Prominent speakers at the conference will include William Lyakurwa, Executive Director of the Kenya-based African Economic Research Consortium, Professors Patrick Guillaumont of CERDI, France; Paul Collier of the University of Oxford, UK; Bernadette Kamgnia of the University of Yaounde, Cameroon; Ji Hong Kim of Sogang University, South Korea; Ademola Oyejide of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Dr. Tony Venables, Chief Economist, DFID, UK; Hakim Ben Hamouda and Stephen Karingi of UNECA; Morne Oosthuizen, Deputy Director, DPRU, South Africa; Abdoulaye Diagne, Executive Director, CIRES, Senegal; Louis Kasekende, Chief Economist, AfDB; Temitope Oshikoya, Ag Director, Development Research, AfDB; Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, Professor, University of Tunis, Tunisia, Joe Abbey, Executive Director, CEPA, Ghana, and Dr. Alan Gelb, Director, World Bank, Washington, among others.

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