Africa Growth Forum 2015

Africa Growth Forum 2015

The International Growth Centre held its annual Africa Growth Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 29 June – 1 July. In this annual conference, researchers, academics and policy makers were brought together and presentations on topics pertinent to IGC partner counties were made.

The sessions included:

·         A public lecture by Professor John Sutton (LSE) titled “Can Sub-Saharan Africa Industrialise? Lessons from History on 29 June, 2015 at the Sheraton Addis Hotel.

·         An introductory session that included welcoming remarks from Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum, Country Director of IGC Ethiopia.

·         H.E Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia gave some remarks on the question Can Africa Industrialise?

·         Framework Session: presentation by Professor Jakob Svensson (IIES, Stockholm University)

o   Firms: focusing on the determinants of productivity, constraints to productivity, and the means with which governments can increase productivity

o   Increasing agricultural productivity in Africa

·         Session 1: Mobile Money : Experimentation and impact of mobile money

Three presentations were made:

o   Experimenting with Mobile Money by William Jack

o   Mobile Money: Impact and Challengers by Tomas Mabulambi

o   Transfers and Savings through Mobile Money: Experimental Designs and Preliminary Results from Mozambique by Pedro C. Vicente

·         Panel Discussion: The global energy and growth challenge

A presentation was made by Dr. Robin Burgess on Energy and Growth focusing on the challenges of securing reliable energy access to fuel sustainable growth in developing countries. This was followed by a panel discussion with panelists Anjani Kumar Singh, Chief Secretary of the Government of Bihar and Robert Sogbadji (Ghanaian Ministry of Power)

·         Conference Dinner Keynote speech by Professor Tony Venables on Growing African Cities: Economic Principles for functional cities

·         Framework Session: Improving the delivery of services

Presentations were made by Professor Oriana Bandiera on the impact of career incentives on selection/recruitment of community health workers as well as their performance during service.

Dr. Rachel Glennerster on “Learning from research to improve health delivery: The case of Sierra Leone”

 Andrew Zeitlin presented a study on “Improving Services Delivery: An assessment of Absenteeism Data”

Session 2: Taxation: Reforms to improve revenue collections and widen the tax base

Session 3: Building resilient economies – Lessons from Ebola

Panel Discussion: Cities and urbanization in Africa

                              : Key transformational challenges in Africa

Framework Session: Firms

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 On 2 July 2015, the urbanization workshop following the AGF with a whole day session that commenced with opening remarks by Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum highlighting structural transformation processes for the success of growing cities. This was followed by a key note speech by H.E. Mekuria Haile, Minister of Urban Development and a presentation on Ethiopian Cities Sustainable Prosperity Initiative by H.E. Ato Abuye Alemu, Advisor to the Ethiopian Minister of Urban Development, Housing & Construction.

Professor Tony Venables and Professor Sir Paul Collier presented on what a good city looks like and how it is formed. The workshop brought together three studies made on different African cities including Addis Ababa. The first was presented by Dr. Simon Franklin of LSE on location, housing and labor markets in Addis Ababa. The second presenter, Dr. Patricia Jones of University of Oxford presented her recent work on entrepreneurship and firm productivity in Tanzania. Julia Bird, University of Oxford lastly presented her current study on path dependence and infrastructure in African cities focusing on the capital of Uganda, Kampala. The final session was a panel discussion chaired by Dr. Jones and panelists included H.E. Newai Gebre-ab, Executive Director, Ethiopian Development Research Institute & Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum, Professor Sir Collier, and Professor Venables. The session focused on discussing key challenges in urbanization for Addis Ababa in the coming years and it came to a close with the conclusion from H.E. Newai that it is important to encourage private sector real estate developers.

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