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2nd African Economic Conference Opens in Addis Ababa


The second African Economic Conference (AEC) jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa by Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ato Mekonnen Manyazewal. Held on the theme: "Opportunities and Challenges of Development for Africa in the Global Arena", the two-day conference has brought together African and non-African researchers, economist and policymakers.

Addressing participants during the opening session, ECA Executive-Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, said the event came at a time the continent was facing daunting challenges and offered an opportunity for informed economic knowledge to be shared. He noted the presence of the African Diaspora, adding that collaboration between the continent and Africans living abroad was necessary. He underscored the importance of knowledge generation and dissemination.

"We need to be more creative in knowledge production and dissemination. Today, knowledge is considered as valuable as public goods," he said. He urged African experts to be active participants in knowledge-sharing initiatives, stressing that the continent needed home-grown knowledge in order to attain its development objectives. He emphasized that contributions from external experts were also very necessary for the continent.

fDB Chief Economist, Louis Kasekende, who spoke on behalf of President Donald Kaberuka, said the AfDB and ECA had come to the conclusion that knowledge was critical to sustained growth and poverty reduction. He pointed out that both institutions recognized the importance of knowledge management.

"The new focus on knowledge management in these institutions has also led to increased and renewed emphasis on technical assistance and capacity building, especially on economic research as an aid to policy formulation and implementation," he said.

"In order to maximize our efforts in research, policy analyses and information dissemination, we need to make more use of the skills of African academics and researchers, both within and outside the continent", he stressed.

Mr. Kasekende highlighted the fact that the AEC is a forum for the exchange of ideas among economists and policymakers. It will also provide economic specialists with access to information and research on economic issues, thus help to improve the quality of economic policy-making in the region.

The AEC is positioning itself as the leading platform for information exchange on important development issues. Participants will, during the first day of the conference, discuss issues such as trade, micro-finance, monetary and financial regulation, as well as gender inequality.

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