The Government of Mozambique and the IMF will convene a high-level conference in 2014 to take stock of Africa’s strong economic performance, its increased resilience to shocks, and the key, ongoing economic policy challenges. The Africa Rising conference will be held May 29-30, 2014, in Maputo. The event is intended to follow up on the 2009 Tanzania Conference, which helped galvanize international support for Africa after the 2008 financial crisis. The conference will bring together policymakers from Africa and beyond, the private sector, civil society, academics, and private foundations with the goal of sustaining the current growth and sharing its benefits among African populations.
The 2009 Tanzania Conference was held against the backdrop of global financial and economic crisis. Five years later, much of Sub-Saharan Africa has demonstrated remarkable resilience thanks to progress on economic reforms over the previous decade. The region quickly bounced back from the global slowdown, and several countries have grown rapidly, including Mozambique. Their key challenge now is to maintain high growth, while boosting job creation and accelerating structural transformation. But for others, notably the fragile states, the first priority remains to establish sufficient political and economic stability to join the ranks of the “African Lions.”
There are many other important challenges. The benefits of sustained growth have not always been shared across populations, employment growth has been less rapid than hoped, and poverty remains high in many countries. An important policy challenge is therefore to foster inclusive growth and accelerate poverty reduction. A rising number of countries are joining the ranks of natural resource producers, a development that offers tremendous opportunities, but also many risks. Finally, many domestic financial markets remain shallow, and access to credit remains difficult, particularly for the poor.
By meeting these policy challenges, Africa can join other regions in fostering accelerated growth and poverty reduction in the 21st century. The Mozambique conference will address several key questions: What are the long-term challenges for Africa? How can Africa create more jobs, reduce inequality, boost diversification and structural transformation, and spur agricultural productivity in a post-MDG environment? How can the continent finance its huge transport and energy infrastructure needs? What are the best practices in natural resource management, and how can recent governance gains be sustained? How can financial development and private sector development be accelerated? How can countries durably overcome fragility? How can the continent be better protected against risks, such as climatic and economic shocks? Finally, how can the IMF best help its members to tackle these challenges?