AfDB Workshop on Financial Crisis Takes Place in Tunis

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Spotlight-10 04 2009

A workshop organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on the theme: “Financial Crisis - Strategies for Mitigating its Impact in Africa” took place on Friday, April 10, 2009, in Tunis. 

Presenting the one-day forum to participants, the AfDB Chief Economist, Louis Kasekende, urged participants to assess the impact of the financial crisis on African countries and to find possible solutions. 

“Initially, we started from the hypothesis that Africa’s low integration into the global financial system will protect it against the crisis. Today, we are no longer making the same analysis: Africa’s economic growth, estimated at 4.8% in 2008, will fall to about 2.8% in 2009,” Mr. Kasekende said. 

He also recalled initiatives the AfDB had taken to help its regional member countries deal with the crisis which, in his view, could have an adverse impact on efforts at attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“To determine the gravity of the crisis on the continent, we should take the example of a country like Botswana which had a strong economic growth and made us proud. This country is going through tough times today,” he said, providing some food-for-thought to participants.

“What can be done to mitigate the impact of the crisis in Africa, given that the continent is not a country, but many diversified countries?,” Mr. Kasekende asked, underscoring that the workshop was being held just a few days after the G-20 Summit which took place in London from April 2-3, 2009.

Presentations on Capital Flows and Capital Account Liberalization in the Post-Financial Crisis Era, Domestic Resource Mobilization, Financial Sector Reforms and Regulation and the Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Manufacturing Sector, served as a basis for discussions during the workshop’s five thematic sessions.

“I have no doubts that we will have in-depth and intense discussions. The discussions will enable us identify effective solutions which will help Africa position itself as a major global player at the end of the crisis,” Mr. Kasekende added.

Besides AfDB staff, the workshop was attended by governors of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), the Central Bank of West African States (BEAC), the Central Bank of Kenya and senior officials of African finance and plan ministries.

Multilateral development institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) were part of the discussions.

“By associating all these partner institutions to the workshop, we have wanted to situate our discussions in a global context,” the AfDB Research Director, Leonce Ndikumana, said during the opening session of the workshop.

In collaboration with the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa, the AfDB Organized a conference of African finance ministers and central bank governors on the financial crisis.

Furthermore, the AfDB has set up an Emergency Liquidity Facility to help its regional member countries cope with the crisis while strongly involving itself in Africa’s preparations of the just-ended G-20 Summit.