Ministers mull Africa’s economic future

OKONJO-IWEALAAFRICAN finance ministers are set to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, later this month to discuss the actions needed to turn the continent into a “new growth pole” for the global economy.

The meeting is taking place in the context of the Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

The meeting, according to a statement by the ECA, will take place at the new African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa from March 22 to 27.

The Ministerial session will hold between March 26 and 27 and will be preceded by a technical preparatory meeting of the Committee of Experts to be held between March 22 and 24 at the same location.

The ministers will also discuss other priority development issues relevant to the theme of the Conference such as a study on the likely state of African economies by 2050; the current crisis afflicting the Eurozone economies and their likely impact on Africa; and ideas for an international post-2015 development agenda as the Millennium Development Goals come to an end.

Three high-level panels will be organised around these sub-themes to provide an opportunity for conference participants to share their experiences and perspectives and explore policy options for addressing the issues.

A high-level panel of eminent personalities, senior government leaders and distinguished experts from regional and international organisations, including the United Nations system and the World Bank will lead the discussions.

The ministers are expected to adopt an action plan that will provide a basis for concerted action at the national and regional levels to ensure that in the medium term, African countries develop sufficient growth and innovation to drive the rebalancing of global economies.

Research and innovation will be crucial if Africa is to achieve its potential. In recognition of this, the first Africa Innovation Prize will be awarded during the conference. This yearly prize honours and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa.

The first price for the winner and runners up, worth $100,000 and $50,000 in that order, will be awarded on March 26, this year.

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