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In-Focus Sessions


In-Focus Session: Transatlantic Challenges: Commonalities and Differences

Countries bordering on the Atlantic, like those bordering the Pacific, are among the most diverse in terms of economic development and people. Like the countries that border the Pacific, they share many concerns and interests such as security, trade, investment, infrastructure, climate change, energy, and fisheries. Yet Transatlantic cooperation efforts involving developing countries are not as vibrant and comprehensive as those of the Asia-Pacific.

• Why is there not more cooperation across the Atlantic involving developing countries? Is this a problem? 
• Are there unexploited opportunities in the many spheres of common interest?
• What more can be done to exploit these? 
• Can the EU or the US play a more prominent role in furthering Atlantic integration as China is increasingly playing in the Pacific? 

In-Focus Session: How to Promote Regional Integration in Africa?

Africa is one of the regions that trade least with itself. Yet, the continent is the most fragmented, with most economies consisting of small domestic markets unable to achieve economies of scale and undermining competitiveness. Almost one third of the African countries are landlocked. There is no shortage of bilateral or multilateral economic agreements in Africa, but these have not, in most instances, resulted in increased trade.    

• Is regional integration in Africa as important as many believe? What prevents it? 
• What more can be done?
• What role for monetary unions in promoting regional integration?
• What lessons to learn from foreign regional integration experiences?

In-Focus Session: Energy-mix to Accelerate Africa’s Development

Many developing countries are among the countries most exposed to climate change and to environmental degradation more generally. Their geography, climate, and limited ability to adapt places them at higher risk. Developing countries may not be able to use conventional energy to grow as did advanced countries, without causing catastrophic climate change. At the same time, some are well placed to exploit renewable energies.  

• Are African countries more exposed than others to climate and environmental degradation than others?
• Can they shift their fuel mix to renewable energies without hurting their growth prospects in coming years? Are there opportunities or only threats?
• What is the respective role of adaptation and of mitigation in African policies towards climate change? 
• How can the international community do more to help Africa find the right energy mix?

In-Focus Session: Migration, Economics and Security

Many economists believe that advanced countries need migration as their population ages and becomes increasingly educated and unwilling to do many types of jobs. Emigration and remittances can help alleviate poverty in developing countries. But, increasingly, migration has also been seen as a security threat. The surge in refugees in recent years is contributing to a climate of xenophobia and racism. 

• Are the economic gains from migration as important as many economists claim?
• Is it right to blame immigration for security concerns?
• Why do advanced industrial states advocate openness with respect to trade and capital flows but not to international labor mobility? 
• What can be done to better regulate migration flows?

In-Focus Session: Jobless Growth (In French)

Jobless growth is becoming a major concern in both industrialized and developing economies. Although several countries have been able to trigger strong and sustained output growth figures, many struggle to create enough jobs for their population. Even when they do, they see a widening pay gap between the skilled and less-skilled segments of the workforce.  

• Is automation the main factor behind job destruction?
• Is globalization to blame?
• Is it causing a widening wage gap?
• Are the social and political foundations of our economies at risk? 
• What can be done?

In-Focus Session: Positioning Africa in Global Value Chains

Global value chains (GVC) offer new opportunities for structural transformation in developing countries. The latter can specialize into production of segments in which they have a comparative advantage without developing the domestic platform to perform all steps of complex manufactured products. African countries that establish themselves in GVCs can aim to climb GVC ladders from low to high value-added activities. Successful entry in GVCs require reforms and investments spanning transportation infrastructure, customs and trade policy. 

• How important is GVC participation and are there downside risks in this process? 
• Which African countries have established a foothold in GVCs and how?
• What is the respective role of trade and customs reform, infrastructure investments, and business climate improvements in entry and upgrade in GVCs?