The Fifth Congress of African Economists 2017 officially kicked off today, Wednesday 1st November 2017 at the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinee, to brainstorm on ways to enhance growth, employment and inequality with the view to strengthen economic growth in Africa.
Organized by the Department of Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of Equatorial Guinea, the African economists will brainstorm and adopt a learning-by-doing approach during their congress, by promoting knowledge management as the main engine of policy dialogue, good policies planning and implementation. Addressing the congress participants H.E Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union (AU), on behalf of the Chairperson of the AUC, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, thanked the Government of Equatorial Guinea for accepting to host the 5th Congress of African Economists. He urged the participants to ensure that the Decisions of the African Heads of State during previous summits of the AU are fully implemented particularly those related to economic growth and industrial development through the promotion of value chains with the view to create employment in Africa. (See complete speech of Commissioner Victor Harison on the AU website: www.au.int. )
On his part, the Minister of Economy, Planification and Public Investment of Equatorial Guinea, H.E Eucario Bakale Angue Oyana, conveyed the appreciation of the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, H.E Theodoros Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to the AU Commission, for choosing his country to host this important congress. He hoped that the outcome of the congress will help to create jobs and reduce inequalities within and between countries and Regions in Africa. He further called on the economists to device means to strengthen the economy in Africa.
For days (1- 4 November 2017), participants at the Congress of African Economists 2017 will present their selected papers, analyze, discuss and share best practices on a number of sub-thematic areas including: sources of growth; distribution of the fruits of growth; growth and exogenous shocks; financing growth; problem of unemployment in Africa; growth and integration in Africa; reduce unemployment in Africa; partnership and growth; coordination experience of monetary and fiscal policies in times of crisis; and monetary and fiscal policy-options to boost growth and create employment.
Holding under the theme: “Growth, Employment and Inequalities”, the objective of the 5th Congress of African Economists 2017 is to integrate capacity building in wider efforts to achieve sustainable development and encourage dialogue between researchers, African economic policy makers and the Diaspora in a track favorable to the maturation of the debate on the optimal policies for inclusive growth, full employment and inequality reduction;
It will also strengthen and encourage research on economic and policy issues related to the main theme, sub-themes and the development of the African continent; while providing opportunities for African researchers and African Diaspora to share the results of their research on theme and formulate operational recommendations to African policy makers. In addition, the economists are expected to emphasize on skill retention and use by providing a unique platform to young African Economists in Africa and in the Diaspora to circulate their research findings as well as share information with African policymakers on the issues of growth, employment and inequalities in Africa.
The opening session and overall Congress deliberations was moderated by Dr. Rene N’Guetia Kouassi, Director of Economic Affairs of the AUC.
In line with the ongoing Congress of African Economists, the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, H.E. Victor Harison was received in audience by The President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, H.E Theodoros Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Worth noting that, since its implementation in 2009, the Congress of African Economists has served as a framework for exchanges between academics, researchers and practitioners of the economy.
Helping Armenia Thrive
Despite being a landlocked country with few natural resources, Armenia has come a long way since independence in 1991, with all major socio-economic indicators drastically improved.
The Asian Development Bank now is supporting Armenia in its effort to expand its private sector, diversify its economy, cut red tape, and gain access to new markets, says Shane Rosenthal, Country Director for Armenia at the Asian Development Bank.
What is Armenia’s current state of the economy?
Since independence in 1991, Armenia has come a long way. Gross domestic product per capita has increased ten-fold in the country, in large part because of smart decisions about investment and because of good connections with its main trading partner, Russia.
We now have a country where the electricity is reliable, where most of the population has access to clean water, where business is beginning to thrive, not least because it is possible to register a business in a short amount of time. It’s possible to go to a bank and get a loan.
This economy needs to diversify into new products, into new markets. That may mean Europe, it may mean other Eurasian economic union members, and increasingly, it may mean looking eastward, toward Asia.
What role does ADB play in Armenia’s development?
ADB has focused on what it does best vis-a-vis other development partners in Armenia. And that, for us, means infrastructure.
Infrastructure in terms of connectivity, helping upgrade the national highway system so that cargo and people can reach neighboring countries more quickly, more reliably.
It means making the cities more livable with improved water supply.
How can the private sector support Armenia’s development?
Going forward it’s important to understand that Armenia’s growth can no longer depend on the public sector to play the leading role. The private sector needs to be the one that takes this country forward. And that means diversification. It means ease of doing business, and it means access to new markets.
ADB is going to focus increasingly on a balanced portfolio, between the public and private sectors. It’s clear that Armenia’s future will depend on the role that the private sector plays. And there, Armenia has many advantages: a strong financial system, a strong diaspora, with very good connections around the world, and a very strong educational base.
Three steps to end discrimination of migrant workers and improve their health
Authors: Afsar Syed Mohammad and Margherita Licata
When migrant workers leave their home, many encounter abuse and violence on their journey and discrimination once they arrive. This can be because of their status as migrants but also because of their ethnicity, sex, religion, and HIV status.
They often struggle to find decent work, which means they can end up in poor living and working conditions, which in turn affects their health. Female migrants are more likely to be vulnerable to exploitation and violence, which exposes them to the risk of HIV and other health issues.
Research has shown that migrant workers – particularly those who are in an irregular situation – often fail to access health services because of poverty, language and cultural barriers, lack of health insurance, as well as fear of job loss and deportation. It means that by the time they see a doctor, their illness has become all too serious.
Against this background, a newly launched ILO publication looks at the interplay between migration policies and those relating to broader health goals in countries of origin, transit and destination. Its key recommendation is that HIV and health policies should be integrated into the entire labour migration process.
So what can be done to ensure that migrant workers have better access to decent work, health and HIV services? The report recommends a three-pronged approach.
1) End discriminatory practices
Migrants face obstacles in accessing decent work, health as well as social protection. Whenever migrants are denied their rights, they tend to live and work in the shadows. They become vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and marginalization.
Discriminatory practices such as mandatory HIV testing of migrants for employment have proved to be ineffective. On the contrary, it is a violation of their rights. It disrupts access to health care and increases migrants’ vulnerability to HIV infection.
2) Set up an integrated response
It is essential to develop a response that does not just pile up ad-hoc policies one after another. Instead there needs to be an integrated and coordinated response that leads to decent work and health outcomes for migrants, including more effective HIV responses.
Right to entry does not mean the right to work for women in many countries. In such cases, women are left with no option but irregular migration which further exposes them to various forms of abuse, exploitation and risks such as HIV.
Gender-responsive migration policies would help address existing inequalities between men and women migrants, while at the same time improve their health.
3) Focus on migrant workers’ rights
There are no quick-fix solutions but discrimination and inequalities relating to HIV and health can be reduced if we focus on migrants’ rights and if we take a global approach. The report especially insists on the following priorities:
- There is a need to target different groups of migrant workers for HIV prevention, care and treatment, depending on the specific risks that they face. For example, risks are different depending on whether they are low skilled or high skilled workers.
- Effective responses to HIV for migrant workers should be integrated into fair recruitment initiatives, encouraging fair business practices to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and equal access to health services.
- Health programmes and HIV prevention for migrants must be disassociated from immigration enforcement.
- Inclusion, participation and freedom of association among migrant workers are essential pillars for effective actions on migration, health and HIV.
- Migration and health policies and practices, in particular those relating to HIV and AIDS, should address inequalities between women and men. A gender analysis is needed from the start for all policies and practices relevant to migration and health.
*Margherita Licata, Technical Specialist Gender, Equality and Diversity and ILOAIDS Branch
Mexico officially joins IEA: First member in Latin America
Mexico officially became the International Energy Agency’s 30th member country on 17 February 2018, and its first member in Latin America. The membership came after the signed IEA treaty (the IEP Agreement) was deposited with the government of Belgium, which serves as the depository state, following ratification by the Mexican Senate.
Mexico’s accession is a cornerstone of the IEA’s on-going modernization strategy, including “opening the doors” of the IEA to engage more deeply with emerging economies and the key energy players of Latin America, Asia and Africa, towards a secure, sustainable and affordable energy future.
The IEA Family of 30 Member countries and seven Association countries now accounts for more than 70% of global energy consumption, up from less than 40% in 2015.
“With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world,” said Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy. “We will take our part in setting the world’s energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises.”
“It is a historic day because we welcome our first Latin American member country, with more than 120 million inhabitants, an important oil producer, and a weighty voice in global energy,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map.”
At the last IEA Ministerial Meeting, held in Paris in November 2017, ministers representing the IEA’s member countries unanimously endorsed the rapid steps Mexico was taking to become the next member of the IEA, providing a major boost for global energy governance.
They recognized that Mexico had taken all necessary steps in record time to meet international membership requirements since its initial expression of interest in November 2015. In December, the Mexican Senate ratified the IEP Agreement paving the way for the deposit of the accession instrument and for membership to take effect.
Mexico is the world’s 15th-largest economy and 12th-largest oil producer, and has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources. The IEA family will benefit greatly from Mexico’s contribution on discussion about the world’s energy challenges. The IEA is delighted to continue supporting implementation of Mexico’s energy reform with technical expertise, and further intensifying the fruitful bilateral dialogue of energy policy best practice exchange.
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Over 1,200 Migrant Children Deaths Recorded Since 2014, True Number Likely ‘Much Higher’
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Three steps to end discrimination of migrant workers and improve their health
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