The second edition of the International Conference on the Emergence of Africa (ICEA) has concluded its three-day discussions on the theme: “Implementing plans for emergence in Africa.”
ICEA 2017 began its work on Tuesday, 28 March, after the opening ceremony chaired by the President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, alongside Presidents Alpha Condé of Guinea, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Macky Sall of Senegal, and the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.
The conference highlights included three plenary sessions led by UNDP, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank, respectively, that provided opportunities for updates on the progress made since the first edition of ICEA in March 2015, especially regarding the three pillars of emergence: building the developmental state, good governance, and structural economic transformation.
During the high-level plenary session, the director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, presented the conclusions of a UNDP study on the various strategies and paths toward emergence adopted by 13 African countries. He observed that this dynamic could only be maintained if public authorities open up in favour of greater mobilization of resources, innovation, regional integration, and the inclusive participation of women and young people. "Emergence is not only a question of state actors. Non-state actors must also be included in this process," said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye.
The key role of good governance for public institutions in terms of achieving emergence objectives was addressed at the second plenary session by Chiara Bronchi, who is responsible for governance affairs at the World Bank. Quoting the recent World Development Report, Bronchi emphasized the importance of three key factors – commitment, coordination, cooperation (the 3 Cs) – in guaranteeing the implementation and monitoring of emergence policies by all actors involved.
The third plenary session, led by the AfDB, provided an opportunity to highlight the crucial role of the manufacturing industry as an engine for inclusive growth and shared prosperity. The participants therefore recommended the pursuit of reforms aimed at improving the business environment and increasing investments in energy, transport and ICT infrastructures, as well as improving skills, entrepreneurship and production technologies.
Emboldened by the new dimension adopted by the conference, which this year was attended by 800 people and 45 delegations, notably from Chile, China, and Singapore, the organizers declared their wish for greater institutionalization of the platform for exchanging knowledge and good practices that the ICEA embodies.
The Ivorian Minister for Planning and Development, Kaba Nialé, highlighted the challenges of the 2017 edition of the ICEA. "After more than a decade of economic growth, Africa has decided to grab its destiny by adopting voluntary and important emergence plans (...), and this conference has led to initiatives that positively impact the lives of Africans".
At the end of the conference the Ivorian government, in consultation with its partners, announced that space would be provided in Abidjan to house the new regional executive secretariat of ICEA; that conferences on emergence would be held every two years on a rotating basis; and that a strategic monitoring center would be created, bringing together actors from civil society and the regional executive secretariat.
Following the closing ceremony, representatives of certain countries and organizations were awarded a prize in recognition of their significant contributions to the success of the conference.
The third International Conference on Emergence in Africa will be held in Dakar in 2019.