Financial Crisis: Strategies for Mitigating its Impact in Africa

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While the first round effects of the financial crisis on Africa were limited, there are genuine fears that the long-term impact will be more significant and will last longer than initially anticipated. Already, economic growth estimates in Africa have been revised downwards. Expected growth deceleration poses a major threat to the poverty reduction agenda. Furthermore, as the continent becomes more integrated into the global economy, it will suffer more pronounced first-round effects of similar shocks in the future. It is, therefore, important that the continent prepares itself for future shocks while responding to the immediate challenges that the current financial crisis presents.

It is in this context that, together with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Bank organised a Conference of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors in Tunis, Tunisia, in November 2008, where the early impacts of the crisis were articulated, and possible solutions for African countries discussed, especially as the meeting preceded the G-20 meeting in New York that took place in the same month. This was followed by the meeting of the Committee of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Cape Town on 16 January 2009, which identified the need for further analysis.

The Bank, therefore, deems it crucial to generate knowledge that will inform its regional member countries in their search for appropriate responses to the challenges posed by the financial crisis. In this context, the Bank is organising a workshop on 10 April 2009, in Tunis, focusing on three areas:

  • Domestic resource mobilisation,
  • Capital flows and capital account regulations and
  • Financial sector reforms.

The objective of the workshop is to present an in-depth analysis of these issues and discuss possible options for responding to the challenges posed by the global financial crisis. It is hoped that a meeting of African experts and high-level policy-makers will provide input to guide concrete actions by African countries in responding to the challenges of the financial crisis. Participants at the workshop will include selected governors of African Central Banks, high ranking government officials in the finance and planning ministries, and representatives of partner institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


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