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Deputies of the Committee of Ten Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors, on Thursday, May 27, 2010 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, held their first informal meeting at the side of the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s Annual Meetings.
One of the objectives was to provide an update on key developments regarding G-20 related activities since the Committee’s last meeting in February in Cape Town. The informal meeting in Abidjan created an avenue for discussions to build a strong and unified African voice in preparation for the upcoming G-20 Summit Meetings in Canada in June and in Korea in September 2010.
Key economic issues were also discussed during the informal meeting, including those pertaining to prospects for Africa’s economic recovery and exit strategies from expansionary policies. “The Bank’s role in supporting C-10 activities has been very prominent and important,” AfDB Research Division Manager explained, adding that “From the moment the crisis hit, the AfDB took a firm stance in assisting its regional member countries (RMCs) both from the knowledge and operational fronts.”
On the knowledge side, the AfDB’s consistent and timely provision of detailed analysis of how the crisis affects Africa provided a solid basis for focused policy discussions of the C-10 and targeted policy responses by the RMCs.
“The AfDB, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) role in reinforcing Africa’s voice in the global economic policy debates, and in ensuring that the Committee of 10 become instrumental in pursuing Africa’s interests has been strategic”, AfDB Research Manager added.
When and how to exit the expansionary policies that some African countries adopted in response to the crisis? For Abdul Kamara, the answers will depend on prospects for global recovery and the speed with which the advanced economies implement their exits. Moreover, they will also depend on country-specific circumstances, including integration into the global economy and the macroeconomic situation.
“The general recommendation is that, where feasible, exits should not be rushed, but be gradual and orderly,” Mr. Kamara explained, stating that: “Many countries may want to start with fiscal consolidation, which tends to be technically and politically difficult.”
At the same time, he insisted, “African policy makers need to ensure that important social outlays as well as public expenditures on infrastructure remain protected to lay foundations for continued growth and poverty reduction.”
The next C-10 meeting of Ministers and Governors will be held in September 2010 in Egypt. The AfDB will facilitate the meeting and provide analytic support, in cooperation with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and African Union Commission.