[Dateline: Addis Ababa | Author: ECA]
A United Nations-backed economic conference on Africa opens in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on Wednesday, 12 November. Jointly organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the 3rd African Economic Conference (AEC) will serve as a forum for economists and policymakers to exchange ideas on improving access to information and research on economic issues.
On the broad theme: “Globalization, Institutions and Economic Development of Africa”, experts at the three-day AEC 2008 will also examine ways to improve the quality of economic policy-making in the African region.
Alongside the AEC, an extraordinary Forum of African Ministers of Economy and Finance will also be held on 12 November, to examine the consequences of the current global financial crisis on African economies.
ECA Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh will address the joint opening session of AEC and the ministerial forum with African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, African Union Commission Chair Jean Ping, and the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Mohammed Ghannouchi.
Africa has witnessed higher economic growth since the early 2000s, compared with the 1980s and 1990s. The situation is credited largely to high commodity prices, especially oil, as well as better economic policies implemented by African governments and the end of hostilities in a number of countries.
“Nonetheless, serious internal challenges remain in several key areas,” noted a statement issued by the ECA ahead of the conference. Economic policy formulation across Africa, for instance, is still hampered by the lack of research and information on economic issues of interest to the continent.
At the same time, it is still uncertain what the impact of the turmoil in the international credit markets being battled by the major world economies will have on Africa. As a result, African governments, the ECA statement said, need to design strategies to sustain their current positive growth performance.
The Tunis meeting aims to promote knowledge management as an important component of good policy design and implementation; foster dialogue and promote the exchange of ideas among economists and African policymakers; encourage and enhance research on economic issues related to the development of African economies and provide an opportunity for regional and sub-regional organizations to disseminate results of their research as well as share information with African policymakers on their work in the region.