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African economies challenged to explore alternative ways to recover from economic fallout

L-R: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Board Chairman Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Cabinet Secretary National Treasury and Economic Planning Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, AERC Acting Executive Director and Director of Training Prof. Théophile Azomahou during the AERC 57th Biannual Research Workshop in Nairobi.

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African economies have been urged to include food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation framework in the economic agenda.

This was said during the African Economies Research Conference (AERC) 57th Biannual Research Workshop.

Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury and Economics Planning in Kenya, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, reiterated the need for governments across the continent to focus on protecting private investments, recovering the health infrastructure, education and nutrition as part of recovery from the multiple shocks.

“We can accelerate 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.

He also encouraged African economies to develop, regulate and even protect the markets as part of economic recovery. He further challenged economic researchers to focus on domestic resource mobilisation and digital resolution in the African set-up.

In the last two decades, African economies have weathered multiple negative global shocks and remained resilient even when these shocks hit hard the core of key macroeconomic indicators. However, the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the war in Ukraine and climate-related shocks have caused permanent damage that could take years to mend.

“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.

On his part, Acting AERC Executive Director and Director of Training Professor Théophile T. Azomahou noted that the economic fundamentals of most African economies have not changed much in the last three decades.

He, said, that the recovery from the shock that is taking shape runs the risk of being uneven, widening the differences within Africa itself and between Africa, and the rest of the world.

The current debate today focuses on how this can be avoided. Beyond the support already deployed, there is an urgent need to find lasting solutions to finance Africa’s economies. 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, the 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 poverty trap have been elusive,” Professor Théophile T. Azomahou said.

The conference brought together high-level policymakers, researchers, media, economists, academics, and non-state actors in a lively mix of speeches, presentations, plenary and concurrent sessions.

The Biannual Plenary will be followed by the 58th conference next year where fully developed papers arising from the interactions with policy and decision makers will be presented to a wider community of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. The papers will be published as Working Paper Series of AERC as well as special issue of the Journal of African Economies in July 2023.

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