Opening Statement by Dr. Louis Kasekende

by Dr. Louis Kasekende
Chief Economist African Development Bank Group

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
15-17 November 2007


Your Excellency Mr. Ato Mekonnen Manyazewal,

State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Republic of Ethiopia,

Your Excellency Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Exécutive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,

Your Excellencies,

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), I welcome you to this Second African Economic Conference (AEC) in Addis Ababa. Dr Kaberuka will be joining us at which point he will deliver his welcoming address.

Since we met in Tunis about a year ago for our maiden AEC several colleagues in Africa and elsewhere, have helped us move the agenda of making the AEC an annual event forward. Our meeting here today attest to the success of these deliberations. I wish to express appreciation to all our colleagues who have supported the idea of the conference and contributed in various forms to shaping its agenda. The AfDB is organizing this AEC jointly with the UNECA to re-affirm the conviction that our two institutions can and indeed, should lead the way in providing a platform for dialogue on key Africa development issues and, in so doing, shape the strategies for supporting Africa's development.


The AfDB and UNECA have come to the conclusion that knowledge is critical to dynamic and sustained growth, which is a necessary condition for poverty reduction. Thus, the leadership of our two institutions have made knowledge management a key pillar in the recently-concluded repositioning and restructuring exercises at the two institutions. The new focus on knowledge management in these institutions has also led to increased and renewed emphasis on technical assistance and capacity building, especially on economic research as an aid to policy formulation and implementation.

Nevertheless, we recognize that in order to maximize our efforts in research, policy analyses and information dissemination we need to make more use of the skills of African academics and researchers, both within and outside the continent. Thus the AEC must be seen essentially as a forum for exchange of ideas among economists and policymakers with a view to improving access to information and research on economic issues and, as a consequence, the quality of economic policy-making in the region. In the final analyses, it must be what we take out of the conference that should determine its success or failure. Therefore, our outcomes must be able to inform and direct the policy discourse of our countries in a way that pushes forward the development agenda.


Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude my brief remarks by emphasizing that both the AfDB and the UNECA re-affirm to play their full part in research and knowledge generation in Africa. Both institutions have reorganized to enhance their research and knowledge generation roles. Your presence here at this AEC assures us of your continuing support in our endeavors.

Thank you.