23rd AERC Senior Policy Seminar to be held virtually on March 30, 2021

The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) will hold its twenty-third Senior Policy Seminar Virtually  commencing from tomorrow (Tuesday, March 30, 2021).

Speaking when he confirmed the hosting of the virtual conference, AERC Executive Director Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u said the seminar this year will be staged under the theme: The Global COVID-19 Health Pandemic and Its Implications for the African Economies.

During the opening session, Ministry of Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, will be the Guest of Honour at the official opening of the Seminar. The welcoming remarks will be delivered by Prof. Ndung’u, and the Keynote Speech will be delivered by Dr Arqebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Advisor to the PM of Ethiopia.

(TOP: Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, Executive Director. AERC – left). 

Amb. Erastus J.O. Mwencha, Chairman, Equity Bank & former Vice-Chair of the AU and former Secretary-General, COMESA will serve as the Chair of the Special Session honouring the first AERC Executive Director and former Governor of the Tanzania Central Bank Prof. Bennu Ndulu who passed on last month (February).

The current Covid-19 pandemic is damaging business ecosystems, affecting livelihoods, and threatening to overturn sub-Saharan Africa’s development progress and growth projections. The pandemic has once again brought to the fore these challenges and exposed the frailty of many of the institutions across the continent. Yet, as the virus was late in arriving on the continent, we saw governments across Africa taking decisive actions to keep citizens safe and implementing global best practices and policies. While there are obvious capacity and execution shortfalls, there have also been several successful areas of practice.

“The pandemic has hit tourism-dependent and resource-intensive economies particularly hard, while also accentuating social and economic inequalities across nations. As Africa braces for the worst, many African countries are grappling with the best approach to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the indicators on infection rates are growing rapidly and they do not seem to relent,” said Professor Ndung’u.

The seminar will feature four presentations by thought leaders on the subject of Global COVID-19 Health Pandemic, they include:

  • Dr. Rose Ngugi, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, (KIPPRA), on The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Poverty and Inequality in Five African Countries;
  • Prof Njuguna Ndung’u and Dr Abebe Shimeles, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) on Trade-offs between Lockdown Measures to Control the Spread of the Covid-19 and the Economic and Social Consequences;
  • Dr. Augustine Asante, University of New South Wales, Australia on COVID-19 and the Health Sector in Africa, and
  • Erik Thorbecke, Cornell University, USA on The Interrelationship between Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Some Implications for the Fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Special Session in Honour of Prof. Benno Ndulu

Three speakers will make their contributions in the Special Session that has been organized to honour Prof. Benno Ndulu, one of the most celebrated academics in Africa, policy leader and founder of AERC. The speakers will be Prof. Sir. Paul Collier, Oxford University, UK; Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, ISSER, Ghana; and Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, AERC, Nairobi.

The late Prof. Benno Ndulu passed away on February 22, 2021. Prof. Benno, a celebrated Economist, Mentor and Scholar, was the first Director of Research and the first African Executive Director of the AERC. Benno was also a member of the AERC Board, Chair of the AERC Programme Committee, founder member of the AERC African Central Bank Governors’ Forum, thought leader and paper presenter and discussant at AERC policy workshops. His commitment and dedication to the AERC and its mandate to build research capacity in Africa are highly commendable.

AERC Senior Policy Seminars are forums designed specifically to bring together senior policymakers from sub-Saharan African countries to exchange experiences and deliberate on topical issues pertaining to the sustainable development of their economies. Participants in these seminars are drawn from the highest levels of government, including the Presidency, Ministers, Governors of central banks, heads of civil services, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies and parastatals.

Established in 1988, AERC is a capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: first, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy; second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cohort of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cohort through a programme that has three primary components: research, training, and policy outreach. The organization integrates high-quality economic policy research, postgraduate training, and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities, and policymakers across Africa and beyond.

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