The Ethiopian Development Research Institute and OCP Policy Center co-organized the first edition of the Strategic Dialogue on “Growth Strategies and Industrial Policies: Towards Structural Transformation in Africa” at the Sheraton Addis Hotel, 8-9 February 2017. The seminar centered around topics concerning growth strategies in Africa involving prominent experts from think tanks, academia as well as policy makers.
The first panel titled “Building Competitiveness and Financing Economic Transformation in Developing Countries” brought together experts from both countries to deliberate on issues related to the manufacturing sector as the main driver of growth in Africa.
Structural transformation of low income developing countries and the anticipated role of multidimensional South-South cooperation has also been discussed. In this panel the former chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Neway Gebre-ab and the Managing Director of the OCP Policy Center, Mr. Karim El Aynaoui participated bringing in perspectives from the two countries.
In an in-focus session, “Doing business in Ethiopia”, Mr. Elias Geneti, President of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce described the realities of the business environment in Ethiopia while Mr. Teka Gebreyesus, Deputy Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission briefed enabling systems and incentives put in place by the government of Ethiopia to make the business environment as attractive and conducive to private investors.
The need for structural change for sustainable growth has also been one of the topics on the agenda. Mr. Yohannes Ayalew, Vice Governor and Chief Economist, National Bank of Ethiopia discussed how public infrastructure could aid growth from the perspectives of Africa, Latin America and East Asian countries.
Experts from the two countries also discussed the possibility of integrating African countries into regional and global value chains through the agricultural sector. In this session, it has been said that in light of the fact that agriculture lies at the center of their economies, development strategies of African countries should focus on trade linkages amongst themselves. The agricultural performances of the two counties have been presented by researchers.
The seminar also featured success stories from the Moroccan private sector with a business model that promotes knowledge and technology transfers, a model that can be copied by other countries in Africa.
On the final panel, perspectives from the business sector and research have been discussed in light of why Africa occupies the bottom place in the global value chain.
It has been indicated that the next edition of this economic policy dialogue between experts, policy makers and business people in Ethiopia and Morocco will take place in Morocco.
The collaboration between EDRI and OCP Policy Center provides concrete evidences which serve as the bases for the dialogue on issues of growth in Africa.