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Congress of African Economists: Growth, Employment and Inequalities at the Centre of Discussion

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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.

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UNIDO at Hannover Messe 2018

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The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) again had a strong presence at the annual Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial trade fair which attracts over 6,500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors. UNIDO has participated in the Hannover Messe every year since 2015 to provide a platform where institutions and industrial enterprises from its Member States can promote themselves at this important international trade setting.

Fulfilling one of its core functions of convening stakeholders and brokering partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation, this year UNIDO organized a variety of events.

At the UNIDO stand in the Global Business Markets Section, the UNIDO Director General LI Yong welcomed co-exhibitors representing UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Offices in Germany, Korea and Nigeria, as well as those representing Subcontracting and Partnership Exchange centres in Cameroon, Colombia, Iran and Mozambique.

Li stressed that “participation in international events such as Hannover Messe serves as an opportunity for the organization to actively promote its work in the field of international trade, investment promotion and technology development and highlight UNIDO’s role in helping its Member States to implement the Sustainable Development Goals that form part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’’.

During the morning of 25 April, UNIDO together with the United Arab Emirates organized promotional events on the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) around the theme, ‘Finding innovative solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Role of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies’. These included a panel discussion and TEDx-style talks on ways manufacturing firms, governments, academia, and non-governmental organizations can collaborate to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); and elevator-style pitches by three start-ups from developing countries presenting their renewable energy innovations.

At a gala dinner later the same day, Director General LI participated in the launch of the Initiative for Global Prosperity (IGP), which has evolved within the framework of the GMIS. The IGP aims to inspire innovators worldwide to design technological solutions to pressing global development issues, using existing knowledge on robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and automation.

On the margins of the Hannover Messe, Director General Li met with Jochen Köckler, member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe, to reiterate their commitment to work together to support Member States on trade and investment promotion, Industry 4.0 and technology transfer for developing countries.

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ADB to Help Improve Water Governance, Develop Regional Urban Investment Plan for Mongolia

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide two technical assistance (TA) grants totaling $2.5 million to help the Government of Mongolia strengthen water governance at the river basin level and prepare a development investment program for aimag and soum centers in the country.

The agreements were signed by Batkhuu Idesh, Director General of the Development Financing Department of the Ministry of Finance, and Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, ADB Country Director for Mongolia, at a ceremony in Ulaanbaatar. First Secretary Hiroshi Fukasawa from the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia witnessed the event. Representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development also participated.

“Mongolia’s future development rests heavily on how it manages its resources and achieve sustainable development driven by a multisector economy and ecological balance,” said Ms. Fernandez Lommen. “Both projects are aligned with ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy for Mongolia, which supports the government’s efforts to foster inclusive growth, improve people’s access to services, and strengthen environmental sustainability.”

The $1 million water governance TA grant aims to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of investments in the water sector and infrastructure in the country to provide socioeconomic benefits. The project will assess the current status of water governance standards, provide policy recommendations for legislative and institutional reforms, and develop and update management plans for river basins. It will strengthen and build capacity among government agencies, and assess the potential scaleup and replication of water security approaches for river basins.

The regional development TA grant for the aimag and soum centers is worth $1.5 million. It will help the government develop an investment program to improve basic urban services and promote the local economy in selected aimag capitals and soum centers. The program will focus on regional urban clusters that have the potential to build a more resilient and diversified economy to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth. The TA will support the preparation of the investment program, such as the formulation of economic and urban development strategies, feasibility studies, and measures that will enhance aid effectiveness and project readiness.

The two projects are funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. Over the past 19 years, the fund has supported projects in Mongolia in poverty alleviation, community development, improving livelihoods, and safeguarding the environment.

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Data USA adds more than 7,300 profiles of higher education institutions to visualization platform

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Data USA has released new data visualization profiles summarizing the costs, demographics, debt, acceptance rates, financial aid, and endowments of more than 7,300 universities and higher education institutions in the US. The visualizations make available data from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS).

Data USA is a free, open data platform created in collaboration between Deloitte, MIT, and Datawheel. Data USA integrates, visualizes, and distributes data from multiple public sources and has grown in its first two years to more than 300,000 monthly users, becoming one of the main sources for Americans to access public data.

“The new university profiles will allow students, parents, and school counselors, to understand the cost, demographics, and career opportunities of thousands of US universities,” said César Hidalgo, director of MIT’s Collective Learning group and a co-founder of Datawheel.

“Whether you are a student or parent, researcher, journalist, employer, or curious citizen, these new data visualizations offer greater insights into the composition of colleges and universities around the country and the integral role they play in the overall job market,” said Matt Gentile, principal, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, and one of the Data USA project lead sponsors. “With the vast amounts of open government data, we’re closing the gap in making that data useful, understandable, and actionable.”

“IPEDS data is extensive, but to most individuals who are not thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of the formats involved, translating the raw data into useable information is a daunting task,” said Jeff Bradfield, National Practice Leader for Higher Education, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “With this new interface, the data is now more accessible to people inside and outside the higher education community.”

The new higher education profiles provide a robust amount of data visualizations, including:

  • Admissions and financial aid
  • Majors, time to complete degrees, and jobs of graduates
  • Diversity of student and faculty populations
  • Staffing, expenses, and operations

Additionally, the individual institution profiles that also include automatically generated comparison data from peer institutions.

Data USA is the most comprehensive visualization engine for shared US government data to date, aggregating and visualizing publicly available data from multiple sources including the Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, the Census, and Department of Education, among others.

Data USA is freely available and users can browse the data and gain insights using filters or target their view using search tools. The code is open source, and the platform is scalable, allowing for new data to be added. Application developers can build on the Data USA platform using the API and integrate additional data for custom use.

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