African Economic Outlook (AEO 2016) - Sustainable cities and structural transformation in Africa

Monday 23 May 2016 - 9:00 – 10:30

Moderator  : Mr. Alan Kasujja, BBC


  • Mr. Mario Pezzini, Director, OECD Development Centre
  • Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP
  • Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
  • Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kyacira Deputy Executive Director UN-Habitat
  • Mr. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director Rockefeller Foundation
  • Mr. Abebe Shimeles, Ag. Director, AfDB

Description :

The African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2016 Report is an annual tripartite report, co-produced by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The uniqueness of this year’s edition is its coming at a time of great global and domestic economic uncertainty, underpinned by falling commodity prices and attendant widening of twin deficits in Africa’s commodity exporting countries. A combination of these factors will shape the economic landscape in a majority of African countries, both in the short-term and medium-term.

The Launch is therefore premised on three main objectives: (i) Share the findings of the African Economic Report 2016 on the medium-term outlook of the African economies and the leading growth sectors whilst highlighting opportunities and constraints to long-term growth; (ii) Provide evidence on the role of cities in fostering structural transformation in Africa, and highlight the different factors driving Africa’s urbanisation, and (iii) Present the different policy responses to the emerging development issues and the unfolding urban dynamics at country, regional and sub-regional levels.

The theme for the AEO 2016, “Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation in Africa”, brings to the fore Africa’s distinctive paths of urbanization and the role of cities as engines for Africa’s structural transformation. The session will show that Africa’s urban transition is multi-faceted, and the densification it produces offers new opportunities for economic, social, climatic and environmental development outcomes. It will also emphasize the importance of investing in infrastructure, especially clean energy and green transport networks to enhance resilience of Africa’s cities and unlock the continent’s potential of an urban led industrialization for sustainable jobs and improved livelihoods. It also underscores the importance of bolstering resource mobilization at the local level.

The overall debate is consistent with the theme on energy and climate change, the Bank’s High 5s which encapsulate its Ten Year Strategy, African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG11 on sustainable cities and communities. This event will also inform global dialogue on urbanization, in the run-up to the Habitat III conference, to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. The AEO 2016 Report specifically underscores the analytical rigor of what has come to characterize this flagship publication, highlighting its uniqueness and the impact it has made across Africa and beyond.

Venue  : Lusaka, Mosi-oa-Tunya, MICC

Issues for Discussion

The following issues will be presented and discussed:

  • Does the end of the commodity price boom (super cycle) undermine the "Africa rising" narrative?
  • What policy measures should the African policy makers be thinking of, that aim to address the vulnerability to external shocks?
  • The agenda on Sustainable Development Goals calls us to action, following lacklustre achievements under the MDGs agenda. What should Africa’s focus be to ensure achievement of the SDGs?
  • Innovative Financing will be critical to fast track achievement of the SDGs but capacity for domestic resource mobilisation remains limited on the African continent. What can be done to move the figure from billions to trillions in the context of the FFD framework?
  • Is the renewed focus on Africa’s urban agenda –as we brace ourselves for the Habitat III Conference in October-- bad news for the rural economy, which after all remains an essential pillar of African economies? Or could it be good news, and how?
  • What does green growth mean for African cities? How can the imperatives of job creation –including through industrialisation—and the preservation of a quality environment be reconciled? What are Africa’s best practices in that respect?


  • Mr. Ayodele Odusola, Chief Economist and Director, Strategic and Analysis Team, RBA, UNDP
  • Mr. Henri Bernard Solignac-Lecomte, ‎Head of Unit, Africa and Middle-East, OECD Development Centre
  • Mr. Anthony Simpasa, Chief Research Economist, AfDB

Africa: economic transformation hinges on unlocking potential of cities, says the African Economic Outlook 2016

With two-thirds of Africans expected to live in cities by 2050, how Africa urbanises will be critical to the continent’s future growth and development, according to the African Economic Outlook 2016 released at the African Development Bank Group’s 51st Annual Meetings. 


Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. It is time to take decisive action and turn around this narrative: to light up and power Africa and accelerate the pace of economic transformation, unlock the potential of businesses, and drive much needed industrialization to create jobs.

Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President

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