The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) held its 58th biannual plenary session of the biannual research workshop on Monday on a virtual platform.
The conference aimed at facilitating continent-wide unity on trade to accelerate the recovery agenda.
The plenary session noted notable progress in some sub-regions where integration in trade, finance and labour mobility is improving fast.
It acknowledged that harnessing the full benefits of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements and strengthening regional integration and regional trade prospects are new avenues for exploiting the limitless opportunities.
The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank, Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, noted that even after regional integration agreements and treaties, African regional trade has not grown substantially as had been expected.
Currently, intra-Africa trade stands at 15.4%, and Africa’s share of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) trade is estimated at 2.6%, despite accounting for 16.3% of the world’s population.
The plenary session also discussed possible solutions for mitigating these multiple shocks such as investing in the transformation of African economies to reduce the unhealthy and credit-rating negative correlation between price and commodity price cycles.
Other areas include investing in the development of capital markets, closing the infrastructure deficit, especially in the power sector to close the chronic electricity deficit which has been one of the greatest constraints to productivity growth and industrial output as well as increasing the relevance and impact of AERC networks in the policy and development arenas.
The workshop’s concurrent sessions and technical sessions commenced on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, and will end on May 29, 2023.
They will feature 80 presentations of research proposals, work in progress, final reports, and interim PhD thesis reports.
The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) commissions papers that provide a better understanding of the shocks-recovery-resilience nexus in Africa and provide policy recommendations.
The commissioned papers explore areas that previously either have been under-investigated or are overlooked for various reasons to provide a comprehensive perspective on the importance of shocks and the opportunities they present for implementing innovative, bold, and comprehensive policy reforms.