The African Economic Conference (AEC) 2015, jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will take place from November 2-4 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The topic of the conference is: “Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” The theme is particularly timely in light of the global efforts to define the way forward in addressing world poverty and inequality.
Africa’s recent economic growth and development progress are widely acknowledged. But also highlighted is the fact that millions of Africans in cities and rural areas have not been able to enjoy the benefits of economic growth. For many, making a living and access to social services have become quite difficult, while the problem of youth unemployment is an acute policy challenge everywhere in Africa. African economies have been able to weather the storm of global economic turbulence, thanks to much improved policy environments, the natural resource boom, and associated inflows of foreign investment. However, sustainability will require well-formulated policies for Africa’s economic transformation and inclusion for all. This will require a broad effort by all countries, through regional policy harmonization, economic integration and trade. Efforts at the margin will fail.
These issues, and many others, will be taken up in the forthcoming AEC. Kinshasa, as a venue, is particularly appealing for this conference. DRC has returned to high levels of growth, fired by its rich natural resource base. There is a huge latent demand for modern infrastructure and services to ease transport difficulties, reduce the cost of doing business, and ensure that the benefits of growth reach the population. These challenges are similar across Africa.
As usual, the Conference organizers expect to welcome a range of policymakers, academics, private sector participants as well as members of civil society.