Africa Economic Symposium (AES) 1st edition


9:00 am September 2023


4:00 pm September 2023
Add to Calendar 2023-09-21 09:00:00 2023-09-22 16:00:00 Africa Economic Symposium (AES) 1st edition Description Location Policy Center Policy Center Africa/Casablanca public

The Role of Science, Technology, and Innovationin Driving Africa's Economic Growth

The Africa Economic Symposium (AES) is the Policy Center for the New South’s new Major Conference, alongside the well renowned The Atlantic Dialogues and the African Peace and Security Annual Conference (APSACO) and aspires to be a continent-wide annual gathering of prominent economists, policymakers and academics to bring together global and continental perspectives on issues that shape the future of Africa's economic development.

In each edition of the Symposium, the African Economy will take center stage with a focus on macroeconomic stability challenges and selected structural issues that shape Africa’s economic development. African policymakers are currently facing a complex macroeconomic policy landscape that requires navigating multiple trade-offs. Specifically, monetary policy needs to tamper the inflationary pressure caused by supply shocks without impeding economic recovery. Fiscal policy faces the urge to manage debt sustainability along with protecting the most vulnerable. Moreover, with the increased concerns about financial stability in the region, macroprudential policy must supplement the macroeconomic policy framework to cushion potential financial risks.

Furthermore, African countries need to harness the power of science, technology, and innovation to push economic growth to the next level and escape the middle-income trap. This will require revamping the nexus between educational policies, R&D, innovation, and economic policies, taking the shape of modern industrial policies that serve development through clear roadmaps and transparent objectives. In addition, as Africa remains the continent that is most threatened by climate change and chronic food insecurity, science and technological innovation has the potential to improve energy transition, and increase food production, making it a vital area of focus for promoting sustainable economic growth. Finally, there is a growing recognition of the importance of financial innovation as a driver of entrepreneurship and financial inclusion and financial efficiency in Africa. Emerging technologies such as mobile banking, fintech, and blockchain have the potential to increase access to capital, reduce transaction costs, and expand financial services to underserved populations.

Through the course of two days, experts, scholars, and policymakers will participate in thematic discussions revolving around these issues to share, confront and complement their views on how Africa could be positioned as the new engine of growth of the world economy. The AES 2023 will also provide the opportunity to present the Annual Economic Report on Africa, which maps the dynamics of the African economic profiles at different scales.

  1. 1.) Macroeconomic Policy Challenges in Africa

Session 1: Challenges of Monetary Policy: Navigating Inflation Dynamics in the Face of Supply Shocks.

  • Adapting monetary policy tools to supply shocks: Should Central banks change their frameworks and mandates?
  • The potency of traditional monetary policy tools
  • Addressing the inflation-growth tradeoff by African Central banks
  • Long term effects of the current wave of monetary policy tightening
  • Rethinking the policy mix frameworks to address macroeconomic imbalances.

Session 2: Challenges of Fiscal Policy: Managing Debt Sustainability

  • How sustainable is Africa’s debt path?
  • Building fiscal capacity in Africa through domestic revenue mobilization
  • The management and efficiency of public expenditure in Africa
  • The role of fiscal rules in reducing pro-cyclicality of fiscal policy
  • The role of international cooperation in managing debt sustainability through innovative debt relief schemes.

Session 3: Macroprudential Policy and Financial Stability

  • Identifying financial stability risks in African economies
  • Financial cycles and their economic implications in Africa
  • Macroprudential policy frameworks in African countries: A comparative analysis
  • Tailoring the macroprudential toolkit to fit the financial sector size, data availability, and analytical capacity of African countries.
  • Coordination between macroprudential policy and other policy areas
  1. 2.) Theme the year: the Role of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Driving Africa’s Economic Growth.

Session 4: Promoting Innovation-led Growth in Africa

  • Leapfrogging through technology and innovation: best practices and lessons learned
  • The technology gap in Africa: How R&D can make a difference
  • Targeting investment in innovation to address technology mismatch and boost productivity growth.

Session 5: Industrial Policy for Innovation and Technology Upgrading in Africa

  • Understanding the linkages between industrial Policy, innovation, and technology development in Africa
  • Driving technological development through competition: Lessons from successful cases
  • Strengthening the intersection between intellectual property systems and innovation.
  • Transforming education and labor markets: Re-skilling human capital

Session 6: The Power of Innovation for Sustainable Development: Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change, Energy Transition, and Food Security in Africa

  • Climate-smart agriculture: innovations for sustainable food production in Africa
  • Low carbon technologies and infrastructure development
  • The role of technology-enabled Public-Private Partnerships in Achieving Sustainable Development in Africa
  • Innovative financing mechanisms for sustainable energy projects

Session 7: The Future of Financial Innovation in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

  • Fintech and financial inclusion in Africa: challenges and opportunities
  • Fintech investment and funding in Africa: the current state and future prospect
  • Digital currencies and payment systems in Africa: innovations and implications
  • Regulatory challenges for fintech innovation in Africa: ensuring consumer protection and data privacy.

The role of Fintech in boosting SMEs, entrepreneurship, and financial sector efficiency.