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Accra conference on economic transformation

In Africa, in spite of significant economic growth, real structural transformation of economies has still not yet taken place. In order to initiate significant change, the political economy of many African countries calls for a much closer scrutiny. The interchange between political processes and economic development must be examined more critically in order to identify the relevant interests and mechanisms at play.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung believes that the creation of decent jobs in the context of an industrialized, green economy is a key foundation for the fight against poverty and the formation of equitable societies. In 2016, the FES conducted country baseline studies on industrial policies in six (6) African countries: South Africa, Madagascar, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana. Now, in 2017, the synthesis report highlights notable differences as well similarities and summarizes the existing challenges.

Academia, economic consultants, members of Civil Society/Think Tanks, Trade Unions and representatives of Economic Planning Units discussed those aspects at the occasion of a conference on the “Political Economy of Economic Transformation” in Accra from September 19th to 21st. 2017. The conference was opened by the vice president of Ghana H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who underlined the need to formulate inclusive policy recommendations in order to enhance sustainable development.

During the three days’ conference the discussion about key accelerators and resistance factors of the political economy in the six mentioned countries culminated in the request for Alliance-Building: How to bring together and strengthen political movers of industrialization to harness ways of ensuring that economic transformation makes significant progress.

The conference was successful in generating further insights into the political economy regarding the structural transformation of African economies. As concrete outcome, a soon to be published guideline for effective political intervention in favor of economic transformation is planned.

The Ethiopian representatives consisted of Dr. Asnake Kefale (Political Economy lecturer and researcher at Addis Ababa University), Amin Abdella (Senior Researcher at the Ethiopian Economics Association), Samuel Mekonnen (FES Youth leadership training member and agricultural Economist), Rahel Ayele (Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Union member and FES YLTP Alumni) and Feben Makonnen (FES Project Manager).