AfDB satisfied with “growing” success of African Economic Conference

01/11/2014
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Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), is satisfied with the growing success of the African Economic Conference, the 9th assembly of which began on Saturday at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Speaking at a press conference held at the end of the opening ceremony, Kayizzi-Mugerwa recalled the goal of this year’s conference, which is to bring together political decision-makers, business leaders, economists and academics to discuss the general theme of Africa’s future.

The conference is organized each year by the AfDB, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The theme of this year’s assembly is “Knowledge and Innovation for Africa’s Transformation”.

The conference organizers received 240 submissions from researchers and academics, said Kayizzi-Mugerwa, who added that 30 papers had been selected and will be presented in fringe meetings held during the three days of the conference

Kayizzi-Mugerwa, who co-chaired the press conference with Ayodele Odusola, Chief Economist of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, stated that this edition of the African Economic Conference was planned as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the AfDB Group in Abidjan, but was ultimately moved to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Asked about the relevance of the conference’s theme, he highlighted the importance that African governments should give to investments in the fields of science, education and technologies in order to improve productivity and combat youth unemployment.

The outcomes of previous editions of the conference, published in the form of reviews, have helped to reinforce the development of skills in Africa, he noted. Kayizzi-Mugerwa also appealed for the creation of world class universities on the continent such as those in China, which will offer courses based on real needs for Africa such as a master’s program in planning and development.

Calling for greater involvement of women and young people in creating economic policies in Africa, Kayizzi-Mugerwa lamented the deficit in the implementation of decisions aimed at promoting women and the “crucial” question of the gap between training and employment.

According to Kayizzi-Mugerwa, the tragedy of the Ebola epidemic in some West African countries (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) demonstrates the weakness of healthcare systems in these countries as well as poor management of public resources. He pointed out that in these three countries affected by the virus, the spread of the epidemic has been enhanced by the failure to decentralize healthcare systems.