Gender and Economic Development in Africawas the theme of the 37th plenary session of the African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) Biannual Research Workshop, which opened at 9:00 am on Sunday December 2, 2012 at the Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania. The session featured four presentations by distinguished economists. Stephanie Seguino of University of Vermont, USA, and Maureen Were, Central Bank of Kenya, started off the proceedings with a look at Gender, Development and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Next was Collecting Gender Disaggregated Data to Improve Development Policies by Cheryl Doss, Yale University, USA. The third paper was Gender and Economic Empowerment in Africa: Evidence and Policy Issues by Naomi Wekwete, University of Zimbabwe and the last paper on The Care Economy in Africa: Subsistence Production and Unpaid Care was presented by Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts, USA.
Discussions on these papers were led by Abena Oduro, University of Ghana, Pumela Msweli, University of Limpopo, South Africa, Kassey Garba, University of Ibadan, Nigeria and Theresa Moyo, University of Limpopo, South Africa. Thereafter, lively discussions by the participants made up of eminent economists from all over the world and researchers from Africa and beyond followed.
The concurrent sessions of the biannual research workshop started on Monday, December 3, 2012, and featured 84 presentations of research proposals, work in progress, final reports and PhD theses proposals. These covered a wide range of topics that fit into the focal areas of AERC’s thematic research programme: poverty, income distribution and food security; macroeconomic policies, investment and growth; finance and resource mobilization; trade and regional integration; and political economy, natural resource management and agricultural policy issues.
The AERC also played host to one other workshop during this period at the same venue:
- The AERC/GDNet/AFD African Capacity Building Workshop was held on December 1, 2012 with 20 participants taking part. The objective of this workshop was to build capacity and skills in communicating research to maximize their uptake and impact as well as increase understanding of research to policy process, and the role of policy briefs in this process. The researchers were also trained on how to produce a Policy Brief for each research projects they were working on.
In addition, there were special sesssions conducted on various topics on different days:
- World Development Report 2013 on Jobs: Titled Jobs Drive Development by Dena Ringold, World Bank, USA on December 3, 2012.
- Book Launch: Commodity Price Volatility and Inclusive Growth in Low Income Countries, by Rabah Arezki, IMF, USA on December 3, 2012.
- Financial Inclusion Database and Papers by Dorothe Singer, World Bank, USA
- Analytical Support to Boosting Intra-African Trade by Dominique Njenkeu, Paul Brendon, Aaditya Mattoo and Ana Fernandes The World Bank, USA on December 4, 2012.
Each of the AERC’s biannual research workshops attracts around 200 researchers, academics, policy makers and other economists who participate in the Research Programme. The workshops provide a forum in which the participants can meet each other within a worldwide network of professionals, and deal with issues relevant to Africa’s economic development. They also provide an opportunity for monitoring the progress and quality of the various research projects sponsored by AERC, thereby fulfilling one of its major mandates – to strengthen local capacity for conducting independent, rigorous inquiry into problems facing the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa.
AERC is a leader in policy-oriented economic research in the continent, and its biannual research workshops have become the largest gatherings of professional economists in sub-Saharan Africa. The Consortium was established in 1988 as a public not-for-profit organization devoted to building capacity for economic policy research into problems pertinent to the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa. This is carried out through two main programmes: research and training. In response to the special needs of the region, the AERC Research Programme uses a flexible approach to improve the technical skills of local researchers, allow for regional determination of research priorities, strengthen national institutions concerned with economic policy research, and facilitate closer ties between researchers and policy makers. The Training Programme augments the pool of economic researchers in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting collaborative graduate programmes in economics – at both master’s and PhD levels – as well as improving the capacities of departments of economics and agricultural and applied economics in public universities. AERC is supported by donor governments, private foundations and international organizations.