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AEC Explores Policy Options for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

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The 10th African Economic Conference in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo provides economic experts and policy-makers the opportunity to look for new policy, institutional and investment frameworks to address poverty and inequalities in the continent

FOLLOWING the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by world leaders in September, policy-makers, development practitioners, and researchers are convening to lay out policy options to eradicate poverty and tackle inequality in Africa, in line with the new universal anti-poverty goals.

The 10th edition of the African Economic Conference, titled Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which ends November 4, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and provided a forum to explore the policy, institutional, and investment frameworks needed to boost Africa’s equitable, inclusive and environmentally-sustainable development.

The annual conference is organised by the African Development Bank, AfDB, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP and the UN Economic Commission of Africa, ECA.

“With the approval of a new roadmap to 2030 in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, this year is pivotal for development. We know that the SDGs have to work first and foremost for Africa.  The 2015 African Economic Conference offers us an excellent opportunity to look again at Africa’s development course,” said Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President. “Inclusive growth makes sure that everyone benefits, and nobody is left behind.”

Since mid-2000, Africa’s GDP growth has been high, averaging 5 percent, and well above the global average of 3 percent per year, instilling optimism about the continent’s economic prospects. However, the growth has not been inclusive or equitable, and has made little impact on poverty. The 2014 Africa Millennium Development Goals, MDG, Report finds that the poverty rate, as measured by the percentage of people living below  $1.25 a day, fell from 56.5 percent in 1990 to only 48.5 percent in 2010.

Growth has also not been transformational enough to respond to challenges brought on by shocks such as drops in commodity prices, rapid urbanization, an increasingly youthful population and high unemployment rates.

“Growth without redistribution cannot eliminate poverty or bolster sustainable development; the rising tide must lift all boats,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa. “This means putting emphasis on addressing income inequality, empowering women, narrowing down the gaps in health, nutrition and education, and challenging prejudices and stereotypes which feed discrimination and marginalisation.”

The new global SDGs aim to address the three interconnected elements of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. In Africa, the efforts to achieve the SDGs will be aligned with achieving the vision of an integrated, peaceful, and prosperous continent, as articulated by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which also calls for achieving prosperity based on people-focused development.

“This African Economic Conference is an important platform for policy-makers, researchers from various institutions, and a wide spectrum of development experts,” noted Carlos Lopes, executive secretary of ECA. “Its outcomes will further strengthen research capacity on the continent and provide policy recommendations for African countries to tackle challenges and harness opportunities to foster economic and social development.”

Conference participants assessed the impact of current growth strategies in Africa, discuss successes and lessons learned, and identify remaining gaps, challenges, and emerging issues. The key findings and policy recommendations will be shared with development stakeholders and also distilled into a special issue of the African Development Review, a quarterly journal focused on development policy in Africa.

The AEC was first launched in 2006 with a mandate to foster dialogue and the exchange of knowledge on economic issues and challenges facing Africa.

— Nov 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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