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Economic policy in Africa in light of the crisis—watch the video

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The seminar mentioned here went off very well. You can watch the video here. The main messages were:

(i) Economic policy should strive for flexibility, as the future is uncertain. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutabile said this was why he had allowed the Ugandan shilling to depreciate, although the deputy governor of the central bank of Sudan questioned whether an exchange rate depreciation would lead to inflation, and there was an interesting exchange on whether the alternative, holding the exchange rate fixed during a difficult period, wouldn’t be even worse.

(ii) Ishac Diwan suggested that we should design policy to take advantage of the downturn (for instance, the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, which are normally lagging in primary-exporting countries, could receive a boost now); while Ali Mansoor said we should prepare for the rebound in the global economy by, for example, improving infrastructure to be able to export more primary commodities when prices are high. Given that the world is likely to face even more volatility in the future, this two-part advice is sound.

(iii) Consolate Rusagara and Lamine Zeine both made a strong case for continuing to work on the basics during the crisis—improved financial regulation, including bank supervision and human development.

My overall impression was that African policymakers are generally convinced that they should continue with the reforms that they had embarked on before the crisis, and that were delivering results, because these same reforms make even more sense during a crisis. While we should innovate and look for new ways of implementing reforms, the main thrust of market-based economic reforms remains robust. I encourage you to view the video and tell me whether you have the same impression.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on
I really do not have any faith in these economic seminars.How many of these seminars have we had.Nothing concrete comes out of them. In my view,if you are really interested in eradicating poverty in Africa, why dont you meet the impoverished people,listen to them firsthand then you will know exactly what to do to help them.

Honestly I do not know if the reforms continue, although I also got the impression of continuity. Moreover, it takes more than a political or economic but also social. I sincerely hope the continuity of reforms, not only at this time of crisis but a reform with a solid, serious that really bring results and benefits to at least reduce poverty and social inequality.

Submitted by Perry Yenika on
I always read with great interest economic policy issues with regards to placing Africa on a competitive plat form...I do strongly support the idea of holding regular seminars to reflect and share views on the subject...But...We know the truth about economic global realities...the truth about competitive edge...The truth about bargains...the truth about political will...the truth about dominance and global sovereign polarity...The truth about interest and la “politique du plus fort”... My recommendation is we should get to the root of African impoverishment, rather keep on returning to the basics when there is no strong competitive economic foundation...To compete Africa needs to attend go to the Asian school from nursery level...Let us take a close look at the realities of loans or aids...what ever: $10 million is allocated for various sectors, for instance $4 million eradicating malaria and 75% is used up just for vehicles to ply non existent roads...hospitals without facilities...inadequate doctors...please remember only a healthy body can be productive...$6 million is allocated for promoting education in rural areas...building materials imported absorbs over 80% of that...nothing is done to attract educators...and on and on...I keep on saying : we try to mend rather than fix… try to cure rather than heal...supporting rather than building...We should overhaul the system...What we spend on numerous seminars can keep sustain the fragile state of the economies...Let us copy the Asian model and subsequently improve upon...You do not confront a stronger opponent heads-on but you go through the wings...The frailties of African economy is more associated to the will by stronger economies to relinquish some of the "excesses"...Rather than go back to basics, a foundation on a solid rock should be envisaged

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