Curtain falls on 10th African Economic Conference in Kinshasa

logoo-AEC– Leaving no one behind in the development agenda will require taking bold steps by African governments including strengthening the role of state in economic transformation to address poverty and inequality on the continent. This is in addition to accelerating the process of structural transformation and making it more equitable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, integrating the green dimensions. This was underscored during the closing ceremony of the 10th African Economic Conference that opened on Monday and concluded Wednesday in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic Congo. “The state should play a critical role in the transformation of economies. It has to be visionary, provide leadership in planning and execution and intervene when markets fail,” participants said in a joint statement issued at the end of the three-day conference held under the theme “Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” Addressing poverty and inequality, they argued, is central to achieving Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Policymakers, donor organizations and international economic policy planners agreed that nurturing of strong and inclusive developmental states and transformational leadership were essential for planning, implementing and monitoring development programs. They also emphasized the need for bold steps to diversify the economies away from primary commodities to avoid the challenges associated with natural resources overdependence. In the Kinshasa Consensus, the economic experts have underscored using agriculture and the extractive sectors as the linchpin of economic transformation. Agriculture, they argued, remains a major source of livelihoods for the majority of African poor and still remains the core of the employment and income generation for most of the African economies. “It is therefore imperative to pursue an agriculture-led industrial development as it provides much needed capital,” the Kinshasa Consensus reads in part. However, as countries transform they need to put in place measures to adequately manage the transition and especially counter the resulting special inequalities that are likely to occur. In particular, governments need to prioritize bridging the current huge infrastructure deficits, especially electricity, as well as reduce African economies’ vulnerability to external shocks and domestic conflicts. This, coupled with deepening decentralization and initiatives aimed at empowering sub-national jurisdictions to deliver basic social services to their communities, may be useful in addressing spatial inequalities. Effective mobilization and efficient utilization of domestic resources were also underscored, as Africa should be able to use development aid to scale up domestic resources mobilization. The annual conference is organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Economic Commission of Africa (ECA). *AFDB]]>

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