African Economic Conference 2015: Tackling poverty and inequality to meet the Sustainable Development Goals

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Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by world leaders in September, policy-makers, development practitioners, and researchers are convening to lay out policy options to eradicate poverty and tackle inequality in Africa, in line with the new universal anti-poverty goals.

The 10th edition of the African Economic Conference, titled Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, takes place November 2-4 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and provides a forum to explore the policy, institutional, and investment frameworks needed to boost Africa’s equitable, inclusive and environmentally-sustainable development.

The annual conference is organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Economic Commission of Africa (ECA).

“With the approval of a new roadmap to 2030 in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this year is pivotal for development. We know that the SDGs have to work first and foremost for Africa.  The 2015 African Economic Conference offers us an excellent opportunity to look again at Africa’s development course,” said Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President. “Inclusive growth makes sure that everyone benefits, and nobody is left behind.”

Since mid-2000, Africa’s GDP growth has been high, averaging 5 percent, and well above the global average of 3 percent per year, instilling optimism about the continent’s economic prospects. However, the growth has not been inclusive or equitable, and has made little impact on poverty. The 2014 Africa Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report finds that the poverty rate, as measured by the percentage of people living below US $1.25 a day, fell from 56.5 percent in 1990 to only 48.5 percent in 2010.

Growth has also not been transformational enough to respond to challenges brought on by shocks such as drops in commodity prices, rapid urbanization, an increasingly youthful population and high unemployment rates.

“Growth without redistribution cannot eliminate poverty or bolster sustainable development; the rising tide must lift all boats,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa. “This means putting emphasis on addressing income inequality, empowering women, narrowing down the gaps in health, nutrition and education, and challenging prejudices and stereotypes which feed discrimination and marginalisation.”

The new global SDGs aim to address the three interconnected elements of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. In Africa, the efforts to achieve the SDGs will be aligned with achieving the vision of an integrated, peaceful, and prosperous continent, as articulated by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which also calls for achieving prosperity based on people-focused development.

“This African Economic Conference is an important platform for policy-makers, researchers from various institutions, and a wide spectrum of development experts,” noted Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of ECA. “Its outcomes will further strengthen research capacity on the continent and provide policy recommendations for African countries to tackle challenges and harness opportunities to foster economic and social development.”

Conference participants are expected to assess the impact of current growth strategies in Africa, discuss successes and lessons learned, and identify remaining gaps, challenges, and emerging issues. The key findings and policy recommendations will be shared with development stakeholders and also distilled into a special issue of the African Development Review, a quarterly journal focused on development policy in Africa.

The AEC was first launched in 2006 with a mandate to foster dialogue and the exchange of knowledge on economic issues and challenges facing Africa.

For more information, or media interviews, please contact:

AfDB: Olivia Ndong Obiang,, tel. +225 01560505

UNDP: Tahir Basse,, tel. +221 77 332 43 36 (roaming, in Kinshasa)

UNDP: Genevieve Delaunoy,, tel. +243 99 99 88 572 (Kinshasa)

UNECA: Pamela Ntshanga,, tel. +251 915535220


On Twitter: Hashtag #2015AEC, and @AfDB_Group, @UNDPAfrica, @ECA_OFFICIAL. For more about the AEC 2015, click here or visit For more on the SDGs, click here.

About the AfDB:

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

About UNDP:

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

About ECA:

Headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 with the mandate of promoting the economic and social development of its member States, fostering intra-regional integration, and promoting international cooperation for Africa’s development.