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As part of Africa Day celebrations on May 25, 2009, a conference held on the theme: “Africa- Moving Forward,” took place at Trinity College Dublin, with the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Chief Economist, Louis Kasekende; the Nigerian President’s Special Adviser on NEPAD, Tunji Olagunju, and Ireland’s State Minister for Overseas Development, Peter Power, featuring as keynote speakers. The event was organized by the Institute for International Integration Studies and the Trinity International Development Initiative, in collaboration with the group of African Ambassadors in Dublin, with support from Irish Aid as part of Africa Day celebrations in the country.
There was strong focus on conference discussions on NEPAD and recent economic developments in Africa. Mr. Kasekende addressed Africa's recent economic successes and current challenges facing the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed a remarkable growth take-off since the mid-1990s. For the first time since the 1970s, a large number of Sub-Saharan African countries have enjoyed robust economic growth and high growth rates in per capita income terms as a result of a favourable economic environment, sensible economic policies and increased external support in the form of debt relief and higher aid inflows. However, the food and fuel price shocks in 2007 and 2008 and, more recently, the global financial crisis are now threatening this progress and the continent remains vulnerable to exogenous shocks. International support is even more vital now if the region is to achieve its overriding objective of raising living standards and reaching the Millennium Development Goals.