Top Policy Makers, Economists, and Business Leaders Gather in Nairobi

The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) partnered to bring leading economists, policymakers, and business leaders to Nairobi to discuss the latest thinking on The Quest for Economic Transformation in Africa from December 5–6, 2013, at the Serena Hotel. The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK sponsored the event.

The good news about Africa’s recent rapid economic growth has been well documented. But the growth has not created enough productive jobs to absorb the continent’s looming youth boom and too many African economies continue to depend on primary products. Consensus is therefore growing that economic transformation, in addition to growth, should be the post-2015 development priority for Africa.

Several ideas of how this transformation can take place have emerged. The UN’s High-Level Panel calls for transforming economies for jobs and inclusive growth. The African Union’s Vision 2063 calls on countries to join the ranks of emerging economies by adding value to natural resources and increasing intra-continental trade. The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) long-term strategy, At the Center of Africa’s Transformation, calls for inclusive growth and a transition to greener growth. The UN Economic Commission for Africa’s 2013 economic report calls for making the most of the continent’s commodities by industrializing for growth, jobs, and economic transformation.

But what is economic transformation and how can Africa achieve it?

This conference shared perspectives from leading experts on African economies from ACET, Addax Bioenergy, AfDB, Central Bank of Kenya, Chinese Ethiopia Chamber, Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), DFID, IFPRI, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), the Kenya Vision 2030 Secretariat, Office of the President of Nigeria, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Pan African Agribusiness and Agroindustry Consortium (PanAAC), Brookings Institutions, Paris School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study, Tufts University, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), University of Groningen, University of Nairobi, University of Oxford, and the World Bank.

Click to download the profiles of the participantsd

Click to read a preview of the 2014 African Transformation Reportd

Click to download program



Day 1

Session 1: The Case for Economic Transformation in Africa

Dickson Khainga (Head of Macroeconomics Division, KIPPRA)


Mina Baliamoune (Director of Research, ACET)

The Case for Economic Transformation (PPT)

Session 2: Learning from Each Other (Country Case Studies in Transformation)

Nicolás Depetris Chauvin (ACET and CEPII)


Bethuel Kinuthia (University of Nairobi) – Malaysia vs Kenya

Export Structure and Catching Up: Kenya and Malaysia compared (PPT)

Export Structure and Catching Up: Kenya and Malaysia compared (Paper)

Xinshen Diao (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI) – Rwanda Case Study

Structural Change and Foreign Aid – Where will Rwanda’s Growth go? (PPT)

Danielle Resnick (Research Fellow, IFPRI) – Zambia Case Study

Political Economy of Zambia’s Recovery: Structural Change without Transformation? (PPT)

Session 3: Structural Change and Employment in a Globalizing World

Mina Baliamoune (Director of Research, ACET)


Dani Rodrik (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)

Structural Change, Employment, and Growth in Africa (PPT)

The Past, Present and Future of Economic Growth (Paper)

Maggie McMillan (Senior Research Feloow, IFPRI)

Moving to Opportunity Rural Youth and Structural Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (PPT)

Louise Fox (Lead Economist, World Bank)

Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa (PPT)

Africa’s Got Work to do: Employment Prospects in the New Century (Paper)

Angela Lusigi (Regional Programme Adviser, UNDP – Regional Bureau for Africa)

Structural Change and Employment in Globalizing World: Creating Jobs for all? (PPT)

Session 4: The Role of Agriculture in African Development

Lucy Muchoki (CEO, Pan African Agribusiness and Agroindustry Consortium)


Doug Gollin (University of Oxford)

The Role of Agriculture in African Development (PPT)

Ousmane Badiane (Director for Africa, IFPRI)

Agricultural Growth Recovery and Economic Transformation in Africa (PPT)

Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI)

Agricultural Transformation and Youth Employment Creation (PPT)

John Omiti (Executive Director, KIPPRA)

Some Insights on Determinants of Agricultural Productivity in Kenya (PPT)

Session 5: Private Investment in Africa

Dani Rodrik (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)


Moses Ikiara (Management Director, Kenya Investment Authority)

Helen Hai (CEO of China Africa Consulting and Vice chair of Chinese Ethiopia Chamber)

Polycarp Igathe (Chairman, Kenya Association of Manufacturers)

Sam Makome (Chief Business Officer/MD Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank)

Jörgen Sandström (Executive Officer, Business Development and External Relations, Addax Bioenergy – Sierra Leone

Addax Bioenergy – A New Model for Sustainable Bioenergy (Paper)

John Page (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution)



Day 2

Session 6: Measuring Economic Transformation in Africa

Joe Amoako-Tuffour (Senior Advisor, ACET)


Yaw Ansu (Chief Economist, ACET)

Measuring and Tracking Economic Transformation – The African Transformation Index (ATI) (PPT)

Gaaitzen de Vries (University of Groningen) – Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses

Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses (PPT)

Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses (Paper)

Session 7: Kenya Vision 2030

K.Y. Amoako (President, ACET)


Julius Muia (Executive Secretary, National Economic and Social Council – Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Office)

Kenya Vision 2030 (PPT)

Session 8: Africa and Global Supply Chains

Julius Gatune (Policy Advisor, ACET)


Francis Mulangu (Agricultural Economist, ACET)

Agricultural Supply Chains Project (PPT)

Vera Chiodi (Paris School of Economics) – Role of GRI in Ghana

To Be or not to Be a Member of a Grass-Root Institution – A Case Study Using a Network Analysis in Rural Areas in Ghana (PPT)

Bart Minten (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI-Ethiopia) – Africa’s Value Chains on the Move: The Case of Teff in Ethiopia

Africa’s Value Chains on the Move: The Case of Teff in Ethiopia (PPT)

Girum Abebe (EDRI) – Cut Flowers and Leather Industries in Ethiopia

Industrial Policies in Low Income Economies: The Cases of Leather and Cut-flower Industries in Ethiopia (PPT)

High Hopes and Limited Successes: Experimenting with Industrial Polices in the Leather Industry in Ethiopia (Paper)

Shashidhara Kolavalli (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI-Ghana) – Cocoa Value Chains

Ghana Cocoa Value Chain (PPT)

Session 9: The Extractive and Energy Sectors in Africa

Maggie McMillan (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI)


Abubakar Sambo (Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria, World Energy Council Vice-Chair for Africa) – Energy and Transformation in Africa

Strategies for Sustainable Development of Energy in Africa (PPT)

Joe Amoako-Tuffour (Senior Advisor, ACET)

The Mineral Industry and the Quest for Africa’s Economic Transformation: Hopes and Impediments

Session 10: What’s next in African Transformation Agenda? (Policy Panel on Drivers, Bottle Necks, Priorities, etc)

Y. Amoako (President, ACET)


Dani Rodrik (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)

Yaw Ansu (Chief Economist, ACET)

Wainaina Gituro (Director General, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat)

Mbui Wagacha (Chairman of the Board, Central Bank of Kenya)

Peter Ondiege (Chief Research Economist, African Development Bank)

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