AfDB launches the Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) launched the Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa at a high level seminar on “Avoiding the Fragility Trap in Africa” held in Tunis and hosted by the AfDB’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Mthuli Ncube. The keynote speaker was Shanta Deverajan, Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa region.  

The Oxford Companion to the Economics on Africa, with more than 100 entries from leading economic analysts is testament to the fact that economic analysis plays a central role in helping African policy-makers assess the many trade-offs among interventions, and to formulate and implement policies for Africa growth and development. The compendium presents various perspectives, including country case studies. By doing this, it rejects the “one size fits all” approach that has sometimes been applied to African development.

Mr Ncube recognized the contribution made in this compendium by several economists from the AfDB. These included country perspectives across an array of issues including corporate governance in South Africa; challenges of achieving structural transformation for poverty reduction and human development in Uganda; post-conflict challenges in Libya, to Zimbabwe on the brink of recovery, to mention just a few. Other contributors include researchers and renowned academics from African universities, African central bank governors and finance ministers; and four Nobel Laureates in Economics.

At the launch Shanta Deverajan, co-editor of the book, stated that the Oxford companion provided an analytical narrative of the transition that Africa is going through and is useful for future research policy work. Victor Murinde, Director of the African Development Institute at the AfDB, pointed out that this compendium of articles on Africa was an important piece of work that would be used as reference material as part of the Bank’s training programmes with African member countries. He also announced that the AfDB would facilitate dissemination of copies of the Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa to universities across Africa.

There are key messages for policy makers provided in the Oxford Companion on the key challenges facing Africa over the next 50 years. Tackling the common challenges of Population growth, urbanization and environmental degradation will require policy innovation and urgent action. In addition, Africa today more than ever before should seize the opportunity to translate its spectacular economic growth into poverty reduction and human development. Finally, whether it is macroeconomic policies or policies towards poverty and human development, it will be important to build and nurture effective institutions to support and sustain Africa’s development agenda.

Media Contact: Penelope Pontet de Fouquières

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