Top researchers meet in Nairobi to discuss Africa’s economic state

by Correspondent

The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa, will host its 49th Plenary Session of the Biannual Research Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya from 2-6 December 2018.

The event is expected to bring together over 200 researchers, academics, policy makers, non-state actors and economists, providing a forum for participants to interact with a worldwide network of professionals to discuss issues relevant to Africa’s economic development.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury, Hon. Henry Rotich will preside over the opening ceremony of the five-day event on Sunday, December 2, 2018.

The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem will deliver a pre-recorded video message on the subject of “The Looming Debt Crisis in Africa” and Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance, Zimbabwe will provide some interventions on the subject matter.

The 49th Plenary Session gives impetus to the growing debate about public debt in sub-Saharan African countries with World Bank figures showing the number of countries at high risk of debt distress rising from 8 in 2013 to 18 in 2018 in the region alone.

“Although Africa’s public debt hasn’t yet reached the proportions that triggered the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, perhaps the concerns regarding Africa’s present debt is the fact that the debt has risen sharply in a very short space of time. In the face of slow economic growth, weak global commodity demand, and inefficiencies in the use of debt, heavy debt servicing potentially raises concerns regarding sustainability, and carries immediate implications for macroeconomic stability and thus economic growth and development. The possibility of recessionary conditions in Africa also has grave implications for the global economy,” said Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, AERC’s Executive Director.

He, further added, “The AERC’s 49th Biannual Plenary will seek to examine various aspects of Africa’s rising debt to provide a better understanding on the appropriate sustainability indicators to be used in the analysis, analysis of the implications of the rising debt burden on Africa’s growth and inclusive development, and to provide options and feasible solutions to mitigate further deterioration and to prevent relapse into indebtedness.”

A roundtable session following the keynote will feature distinguished economists, private and public sector leaders from across the continent including Dr James Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer, Equity Bank Group, Kenya; Professor Benno Ndulu, Former Governor, Bank of Tanzania; Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, UNECA, Ethiopia; Lesetja Kganyago, Governor, South Africa Reserve Bank, South Africa and Abebe A. Selassie, Director, Africa Department, IMF among others.

The roundtable will be chaired by AERC’s former Executive Director, Professor Lemma W. Senbet. Categorization of debt with maturity profile; debt and technological capture; regulating private sector debt; instrument of debt restructuring and the likely impact of the looming debt crisis on fiscal consolidation, monetary policy and the macroeconomic policy environment will be among the issues under consideration by the roundtable.

Established in 1988, African Economic Research Consortium is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa.

AERC’s mission rests on two premises, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy and that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cohort of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research.

The organization integrates high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond.

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