First AfDB Economic Conference (AEC)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has convened top experts on African economic development for a meeting scheduled to run from November 22-24, 2006, in Tunis. The meeting will launch the first Annual AfDB Economic Conference (AEC) and will seek a response to the following question: What has happened in Africa five years into the 21st Century and what are the region’s prospects in the years ahead?
The AEC is being organized under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Economist towards the objective of enhancing the AfDB’s role as a Knowledge Institution. In July, 2006, the AfDB instituted a new organizational structure, which seeks to reposition the Bank as a knowledge institution. The Bank must increasingly complement its financial services with knowledge services to enhance development effectiveness and add value for clients. To this end, a new Chief Economist was appointed to oversee, guide, and coordinate all knowledge-related activities across the Bank. Among other specific objectives, the Office of the Chief Economist (ECON) complex was established to:
- Give greater visibility to knowledge, its dissemination, and management;
- Brand the Bank as a first port of call for knowledge on the African continent to ensure an African voice in international development debates and the international development agenda;
- Build internal research capacity, encourage research collaboration among bank staff as well as between bank staff and external researchers
- Help to close the data and statistics gap on Africa; and
- Contribute to the capacity development of regional member countries (RMCs).
Over the three days of plenary and thematic sessions, the experts will examine and explore Africa’s growth prospects, take a closer look at existing and future issues, and attempt to chart the way forward. They will discuss thematic issues including "Wealth Creation and Equity in Africa," examining such areas of interest as state investments in people, the growth-employment nexus, service delivery and income distribution in countries.
The AEC will also discuss "Trade, Regional Integration and Sectoral Policies", focusing on intra-African trade and regional integration, the challenges and prospects of relaxing constraints to export supply, Africa’s development prospects under the multilateral and bilateral trade arrangements, and relations between Africa and the emerging economies of China and India. Other conference themes include "Finance, Resource mobilization and Investment", and "Growth and sectoral policy issues."