Launch of the 2012 African Economic Outlook in the United States

04/10/2012
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An African Development Bank Group delegation led by Chief Economist and Vice-President, Professor Mtuli Ncube, and including the Director of Research (EDRE) and the Director of Human Development (OSHD) was in the United States from September 25 to October 1 to launch the 2012 edition of African Economic Outlook in Washington, D.C. and New York.

The tour began at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. on September 25, with the event being webcast live and featuring a discussion chaired by Mr. Shantayan Devaranjan, Africa Region Chief Economist for the AfDB. The Director of the Bank’s Economic Research Department, Mr. Steve Kayizzi-Murgerwa, and the Director of Human Development, Ms. Agnes Soucat, presented the findings of the report, while Ms. Louise Fox, World Bank Lead Economist, Africa Region, and Mr. Deon Filmer, World Bank Lead Economist, Development Research Group, were the discussants.

A similar presentation was held on September 26 at a well-attended event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. The event was jointly organized by the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center and the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute. The launch event took the form of a panel discussion that was moderated by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center. The distinguished panelists at the event included AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President, Professor Mtuli Ncube; Dr. Todd Moss, Vice-President, Programs and Senior Fellow, Centre for Global Development; Hon. John A. Simon, Founding Partner, Total Impact Advisers; and Professor Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Director, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institute. Professor Ncube provided brief remarks on the report’s findings and broader implications for Africa’s future and the panelists discussed the many unpredictable factors threatening the continent’s economic growth and offered brief remarks and policy recommendations. The Bank acknowledged the presence of Mr. Antonio de Lecea, Principal Advisor for Economic and Financial Affairs at the EU Delegation to the United States, and thanked the EU for providing financial support over the years for the publication of the African Economic Outlook.

From Washington, D.C., the delegation travelled to New York to present the publication on September 27 at New York University’s Africa House. The event was moderated by Professor Yaw Nyarko, NYU Africa House Director. The AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President and the Director of Human Development were the guest speakers. The discussants were Professor Elizabeth Asiedu, University of Kansas; Professor Mwangi wa Githinji, University of Massachusetts; and Dr. Hippolyte Fofack of the World Bank. Among the notable participants at NYU launch event was Professor William Easterly, Co-Director of the Development Research Institute at NYU.

At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the AEO 2012 was launched at the Institute for African Development on September 28 to a packed audience of staff and students. The event was organized by Professor Muna B. Ndulo, Director of Cornell University’s Institute for African Development. The report was presented by the Director of the Bank’s Economic Research Department, Mr. Steve Kayizzi-Murgerwa. A distinguished panel of Cornell University scholars, including Professor Chantal Thomas, Professor David Sahn and Professor Ralph Christy, were the discussants of the report. The event was moderated by Professor Chris Barrett.

The final presentation on October 1 was held at the United Nations. AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President Professor Ncube presented the macroeconomic overview and the Chief Economist for UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, Mr. Pedro Pedro Conceição, presented on Human Development.

Mr. Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte, Head of Unit, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, discussed Youth Employment. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Philippe Latriche, Economics, Trade and Development, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations.

The meetings at the various institutions generated a lot of discussion and commentary that reflects well on the quality of presentations and interest in the important report that the African Development Bank and its partners have put together. From Cornell and New York University to the United Nations, the World Bank, the Atlantic Council and the Brookings Institute, there is great interest in African Economic Development, with the Bank taking the leadership role and the various partners’ continued hope that the Bank can build on this and develop further opportunities for collaboration.