Johannesburg, 30 October 2013 (ECA) - The eighth African Economic Conference (AEC) ended today in Johannesburg, South Africa with calls for African states to aggressively pursue regional integration through shared regional infrastructure, value chain development, institutional bonding, industrialization and intra-African trade.
The event which was jointly organised by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recorded an unprecedented participation of young researchers who, together with the more experienced economists, politicians, development activists and private sector representatives agreed that in spite of its progressive growth trend of the last two decades, Africa would not achieve meaningful socioeconomic transformation without capitalising on the opportunities of regional integration.
And the role of ECA in pushing for implementable policies to achieve such transformation was re-echoed by the Director of the Commission’s Macroeconomic Policy Division, Mr Emmanuel Nnadozie who remarked at the closing ceremony that there was need for stakeholders to upscale development finance, strengthen institutional arrangements and fully implement political engagements.
“In practice, this will mean that governments commit to implement agreed commitments and facilitate the development of the relevant capacity of various actors including strengthening the role and capacity of Africa’s private sector to participate in large regional integration projects as well as negotiation with global actors limiting the viability of Africa’s regional integration initiatives” Mr Nnadozie said.
For three days, participants at the Conference concluded on ten salient points that must be addressed by African states to achieve integration: That integration is a political project and must be not be pursued in exclusively economic sphere and format; that some countries and blocs of countries must take the lead for others to follow; that to achieve development in the region, there must be commitment to development efforts at national levels, that Africa’s people must own the integration agenda; that Africans must build on the continent success stories and adopt a new narrative about the region; that domestic resource mobilisation is crucial for the continent’s take off; that Africa must seek to understand global value chains in order to determine its own entry points into the picture; that industrialisation is very important for transformation; that infrastructure development is key to the process of structural transformation; and, that all member states must commit to achieving the goals of Vision 2063 which is Africa’s mega strategy for transformation within 50 years.
Meanwhile the three main panelists at the closing ceremony of the Conference: Emmanuel Nnadozie – Director of the ECA’s Macroeconomic Policy Division, Pedro Conceica – Chief Economist of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa and Mthuli Ncube – Chief Economist and Vice President of AfDB all saluted the collaborative efforts of the three institutions involved in the organisation of the event and underscored the need to keep working together in the interest of Africa’s development.