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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube, participated in the Regional African Vital Statistics and Common Registration Inter-Ministerial Meeting held at the United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa from August 12-13, 2010.
While in Ethiopia, Mr. Ncube also met with senior Ethiopian government officials and the private sector operators. These included finance and economic development minister, Sufian Ahmed; Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Neway Gabre Ab; Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Abera Deressa; National Bank of Ethiopia Deputy Governor and Chief Economist, Yohannes Ayalew; and the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce President, Eyessus W. Zafu. The chief economist was accompanied in the meetings by the AfDB Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Lamin Barrow, and other staff members.
The meetings provided an opportunity to share perspectives with Ethiopian authorities on the country’s Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), including policy priorities for sustaining double-digit growth over the next five years. The GTP, which is the country’s new poverty reduction strategy, is currently undergoing stakeholder consultations. Ethiopian government officials expressed appreciation for the Bank’s long-standing development partnership in support of Ethiopia’s poverty reduction efforts, particularly in the priority area of infrastructure; and said they looked forward to benefiting from the Bank’s policy advice.
While applauding Ethiopia’s impressive economic growth and other achievements, notably in reducing poverty, Mr. Ncube highlighted the AfDB’s growing importance as a knowledge institution and shared the Bank’s recent flagship reports, including the 2010 African Economic Outlook as well as market and policy briefs on topical issues.
One of the highlights of Mr. Ncube’s visit was a guided tour of the trading floor of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) accompanied by the Chief Executive, Eleni Gebre-Medhin. Supported by a strong IT platform, the ECX is radically transforming agricultural trade in Ethiopia. It is widely seen as a model in Africa on how best to organize commodity markets to enhance market integrity, transparency and efficiency.