Interview with AfDB’s Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Lamin Barrow

11/11/2009
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Lamin-Barrow

“My expectations are that by the end  of this conference, development practitioners and policy-makers from the Bank’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs) will deepen their understanding and knowledge of the policy choices and options that can ensure rapid economic recovery and make their economies more resilient,” says AfDB Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Lamin Barrow.

Question: The AfDB and the Economic Commission for Africa  (ECA) are co-organizing the 4th African Economic Conference here in Addis Ababa. As the AfDB’s new resident representative, what are your views and expectations of the conference which is held on the theme: “Fostering Development in an Era of Economic and Financial Crises”?

Answer: Firstly, let me seize this opportunity to welcome participants from such diverse groups of stakeholders, including the academia, policy-makers and development practitioners, to Addis Ababa. The theme of this year’s conference: “Fostering Development in an Era of Economic and Financial Crises” could not be more pertinent to the current economic environment in Africa, given that African countries are still suffering from the consequences of the financial crisis and global recession, which threaten to reverse the social and economic gains posted by many countries in the past decade. African countries need additional help to fully mitigate the impact of the global recession, and to return to a high and sustainable growth path.

As a major knowledge event, the 4th AEC will provide a platform for mainly African economists and researchers to disseminate findings from their recent work in this area. Additionally, it will provide a forum for exchange of ideas and distilling useful lessons that would underpin new policy initiatives in African countries, both individually and collectively, for sustained growth and poverty reduction. My expectations are that by the conclusion of this conference, development practitioners and policymakers from the Bank’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs) will deepen their understanding and knowledge of the policy choices and options that can ensure rapid economic recovery and make their economies more resilient. 

Specifically for the Bank Group, the Conference should be appreciated within the context of efforts to position the Bank as a knowledge institution and responsive development partner. In terms of the Bank’s counter-cyclical role in its regional member countries, the conference provides an opportunity to discuss the Bank’s response to the crises, such as the introduction of new instruments that are helping to provide liquidity to the financial sectors of the Bank’s regional member countries, expand trade financing opportunities and ensure the fiscal space in many African countries. Equally important is the opportunity to showcase the role that the Bank has played in making Africa’s voice heard on issues related to the crises and in shaping timely and coordinated responses to mitigate the impacts of the crises. By helping to mobilize and leverage the intellectual resources represented at this conference, the event will contribute in promoting innovation and evidence-based policy-making.

Question: How do you plan to use your previous experience in your new position?

Answer: Besides contributions to consolidate the quality of the bank’s project portfolio in Ethiopia, I hope that my background and experience will enable me to make some modest contributions to the country’s efforts to strengthen its policy framework for investments, particularly in the infrastructure sector, as well as support ongoing initiatives to improve the efficiency of public investments to enhance growth and reduce poverty. I also look forward to making useful contributions to the aid effectiveness agenda through enhanced donor coordination.