Senior African researchers and policy-makers have committed to boost regional industrialization and trade during a Senior Policy Seminar (SPS XIX) held at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on March 13 and 14, 2017 on the theme “Industrialization in Africa”.
The seminar was hosted by the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department (ECMR) and co-organized with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) and the United Nations World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
Several African researchers and senior policy-makers, as well as representatives from international organizations and African governments attended the event. Panelists included, among others, the Executive Director of the AERC, Lemma W. Senbet; the Ivorian Minister of Industry and Mines, Jean-Claude Brou; as well as Bank Senior Management, namely Frannie Léautier, Senior Vice-President; Pierre Guislain, Vice-President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization; and Célestin Monga, Vice President and Chief Economist, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management. One of the Chairs for the sessions was the Executive Director for Nigeria, Bright Okogu. Presentations were also made by ECMR’s invitees such as Keun Lee of Seoul National University, Korea and Ludovic Alcorta of UNIDO.
Over the two days, participants reflected on solutions to accelerate the industrialization of Africa through presentations, Q&A sessions and a policy roundtable. The event provided a forum for sharing experiences between African researchers and policy-makers on industrialization, with a view to providing the latter with updates on the latest economic research from AERC and inform their decisions.
The highlight of the seminar was the adoption of a declaration, in which senior policy-makers and other stakeholders made a commitment “to reduce infrastructure gaps, strengthen regional value chains, improve trade logistics, and reduce trade barriers to scale up intra-African cooperation and boost regional industrialization and trade.”
They also committed “to empowering women, youth and other agents of inclusive and resilient development through industrialization policies and strategies adopted by African governments.”
The seminar also provided the Bank an opportunity to present the results of its research program on “Learning to Compete” and to showcase its Industrialization Strategy.