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African economies challenged to explore alternative ways forward to recover from multiple shocks …
....57th AERC Biannual Workshop chart a path to a more resilient recovery.
Kenya: African economies have been urged to include a framework for food security, climate change mitigation, and adaptation in their economic agendas. This was stated at the 57th Biannual Research Workshop of the African Economies Research Conference (AERC).
Prof. Njuguna Ndung'u, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning, spoke at the event and emphasised the importance of governments across the continent focusing on protecting private investments, recovering health infrastructure, education, and nutrition as part of the recovery from multiple shocks.
“We can accelerate the African economic recovery journey through collaboration and cooperation towards research that focuses on how to protect private investors, how to reinforce education, recover the health infrastructure, food security, and food markets, and how to develop, and protect markets to help our economies to recover from the current shocks,” Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u said.
As part of the economic recovery, he also encouraged African economies to develop, regulate, and even protect their markets. He also challenged economists to concentrate on domestic resource mobilisation and digital resolution in the African context. Over the last two decades, African economies have weathered a slew of negative global shocks, remaining resilient even when the core of key macroeconomic indicators was hit hard.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the Ukraine war and climate-related shocks, has caused permanent damage that could take years to repair.
“We saw the covid-19 pandemic that hit the entire world, but Africa was affected differently from the rest of the world, and today the most relevant issue is the war in Ukraine that is affecting the whole world but quite different on how Africa is being tested and we need to figure out solutions in our own way on how to tackle these many shocks,” said Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Chair of the AERC Board.
Professor Théophile T. Azomahou, Acting AERC Executive Director and Director of Training, stated that the economic fundamentals of most African economies have not changed significantly over the last three decades.
According to him, the recovery from the shock that is taking shape risks being uneven, widening the disparities within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world. The current discussion is about how to avoid this.
Aside from the existing assistance, there is an urgent need to find long-term solutions to finance Africa's economies.
Professor Théophile T. Azomahou said: “And, together, we need to chart a path to a more resilient recovery. Investment, domestic savings, government revenue and economic structure remained unchanged, while factors such as urbanization, population and unemployment are rising. We observe an overstretched resource envelope to mitigate COVID-19, low productivity in agriculture arising from climate change, low-value addition from manufacturing sectors and persistent trade barriers in the region that globally calls for new approaches in handling structural shocks.
“The outcome is declining economic activity, rising poverty and inequality, in fact, Covid-19 has wiped the efforts in the last two decades or so on growth, fighting poverty and inequality. With low adaptation and implementation of dynamic structural transformation strategies emanating from lower capital accumulation, some of the development initiatives that could have spurred Africa out of the poverty trap have been elusive.”
In a lively mix of speeches, presentations, plenary and concurrent sessions, the conference brought together high-level policymakers, researchers, media, economists, academics, and non-state actors.
The Biannual Plenary will be followed by the 58th conference the following year, at which fully developed papers resulting from interactions with policy and decision-makers will be presented to a larger community of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.
The papers will be published in July 2023 as part of the AERC Working Paper Series and as a special issue of the Journal of African Economies.