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AERC’s Biannual Plenary on Africa’s Energy Renewal

Africa has some of the world’s largest and least exploited renewable energy resources. There is a vast untapped potential in hydro-power and reserves of natural gas. The continent is richly endowed with renewable energy sources, but access to clean modern energy is still a pipedream for many Africans. However, countries like Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa are now leading the efforts to harness these energy resources. Some of Africa’s smaller countries including Cape Verde, Djibouti, Rwanda and Swaziland have also set ambitious renewable energy targets. Most of these nations already have small-scale solar, wind, and geothermal devices in operation to provide energy.

The applications of renewable energy technology has the potential to alleviate many of the problems that face Africans on a daily basis, especially if done so in a sustainable manner that prioritizes human rights. Africa has the potential to deploy modern renewables to eliminate power shortages, bring electricity and development opportunities to rural villages that have never enjoyed those benefits, spur on industrial growth, create entrepreneurs, and support increased prosperity across the continent.

We must accelerate the pace of the continent’s energy transformation. Effective international cooperation can transform what is possible in Africa. Increased support for investment in renewable energy would greatly expand the scope for development of low-carbon energy. This is what inspired the theme of the 46th plenary session of the African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) Biannual Research Workshop which is on Africa’s Energy Renewal, said Prof. Lemma W. Senbet, Executive Director, AERC on the eve of the event.

The conference opened its doors at 9:00 am on Sunday June 4, 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The chief Guest was Gov. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor South African Reserve Bank. The session featured three presentations by distinguished economists. These included: Beyond the Grid: Engineering, Institutions and Finance” by Prof. Laurence Harris, University of London, UK; “To What Extent Do Good Policies and Governance Matter in Attracting Investment in Energy in Africa?” by Prof. Sy, Amadou Nicolas Racine, IMF, USA; and “Renewable Electricity Generation: Implications of Cost, Returns and Investments to African Economies by Dr. Hellen Osiolo, The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), Kenya.

Discussions on these papers were led by Dr Rabah Arezki, International Monetary Fund (IMF), USA, and Dr. Keith Jefferis, Econsult Botswana. Thereafter, active discussions by the participants made up of senior African policy makers, economists from all over the world, development partners and researchers from Africa and beyond took place. A public/private sector policy roundtable that was scheduled later wound up the activities for the day.

Concurrent sessions of the workshop started on Monday June 5, 2017. They featured 85 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 namely:  Group A: Poverty, Labour Markets and Income Distribution; Group B: Macroeconomic Policy and Growth; Group C: Finance and Resource Mobilization; Group D: Production, Trade and Economic Integration; and Group E: Agriculture, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management.

 

The AERC also played host to one back-to-back workshop during this period at the same venue:

Ø  There was the AERC Policy Brief Training Workshop. Thisworkshop was held on June,  9-11, 2017 with upto 25 participants and policy makers taking part. The objective of the workshop was to build capacity and skills in communicating research to maximize uptake of research outputs and impact.

Special sesssions were also conducted on various topics on different days:

Ø  The first was one on Global and Regional Value Chains in Southern and Eastern Africa: How to Best Harness the Potential for Regional Cooperation – by Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott, Asmita Parshotam, Chelsea Markowitz of South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and Reena das Nair, Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED). This took place on Monday, June 5, 2017.

Ø  There was also another special session by The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

 

 

Each of the AERC’s biannual research workshops attracts about 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.

 

Articulating Some of AERC’s Achievements

In the past three decades, AERC has witnessed both short and long-term payoffs. AERC has built capacity of African economists through the research and training programmes. Through its Research Programme, AERC has mentored more than 3,900 African economists from 35 countries. In addition, AERC has contributed significantly to both knowledge generation and policy design in Africa. The quality of the research conducted through AERC programmes is not only highly regarded by a range of national and international bodies, but it has also attracted the interest of respected academic publishers.

Through its Training Programme, AERC runs collaborative programmes in both master’s and doctoral level studies in economics, and supports the improvement of the capacities of economics departments in public universities across the continent. The collaborative postgraduate training brings together over 38 network universities across sub-Saharan Africa covering Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone countries, and has produced more than 4,540 master’s graduates, and supported over 400 PhD graduates. 

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Prof. Murinde Appointed AXA Chair in Global Finance at SOAS

Professor Victor Murinde, a long standing AERC resource person and Chair of Thematic Group on “Finance and Resource Mobilization” has been appointed to the AXA Professor in Global Finance in the School of Finance and Management at SOAS University of London. The AXA Chair in Global Finance is a new full-time permanent academic position, created by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and endowed by the AXA Research Fund. 

Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Director of SOAS, said “SOAS is delighted to be awarded the AXA Chair in Global Finance; it is a great opportunity to make a significant long-term investment in partnership with AXA to appoint Professor Victor Murinde to the AXA Chair in Global Finance and to establish the Research Centre for Global Finance. The investment will facilitate a long-term research programme and disseminate the research findings via the Centre’s global academic and policy-related networks consistent with SOAS’ research strategy.”

Professor Victor Murinde said: “I am honoured to accept the position of AXA Chair in Global Finance and founding Director of the Research Centre in Global Finance. The research programme will significantly extend the existing body of knowledge on finance, stability and growth by systematically exploring the role of price and non-price factors in shaping global trends in flow of funds, and by mainstreaming the study of finance in Africa and Asia within global financial analysis.”  

Professor Victor Murinde is a leading financial economist, with more than 25 years’ expertise, post-PhD, mainly involving university research and teaching, but also including senior- level stints at practitioner, policy and consultancy roles for governments and leading international organizations. He is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of a large research project (Euro 2.6 million) on “Delivering Inclusive Financial Development and Growth”, funded under the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme, of which AERC is an institutional member.

Professor Victor’s colleague at SOAS and an AERC resource person, Professor Laurence Harris said, ‘Victor’s appointment to the AXA Chair in Global Finance is a mark of his high international standing. It is especially pleasing that, among his many contributions to our profession, Victor's outstanding work within the AERC and his writings on African economies receive recognition through this award.'

Professor Murinde has published over forty articles in many journals, including the Journal of Finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of International Money and Finance, Review of International Economics, Journal of Policy Modelling, World Development, Economic Notes and Applied Economics and Applied Financial Economics. His current research focuses on corporate finance and international finance.

About Centre for Financial and Management Studies

The Centre for Financial and Management Studies was founded in 1992 before its establishment as an academic Department in 2001 and its evolution to the SOAS School of Finance and Management in 2016. Over this time the School has more than doubled in size reflecting its success in research and scholarship in the fields of finance and management. The School’s research record is outstanding: in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework the School was ranked in the top 20 UK Schools for Business and Management (ranked 18th out of 101 Schools) on Research Intensity Grade Point Average. The School has also had significant success in attracting external funding from the UK’s national research council – The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

About AERC 

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), established in 1988, is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.

# # #

For more information about this workshop or AERC, please contact: 

 

The Executive Director

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) 

Middle East Bank Towers, 3rd Floor, Jakaya Kikwete Road, 

Tel: (+254-20) 273-4150 / 273-4157

Fax: (+254-20) 273-4173

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.aercafrica.org

 

 

AERC Participates in the “G7 and Africa: Think Tank Summit in Rome”

Prof. Lemma Senbet, the AERC Executive Director, recently participated in a high level policy working group convened in Rome on May 5, 2017, in preparation for the upcoming G-7 meeting in Italy. The group was hosted by the Italian Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ISPI. It included heads of selected think tanks (T7) and other high level representatives from G-7 countries. G-7 is a group of seven member countries: United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Japan, and Canada.

The G7 summit is a forum that plays an important role in shaping global responses to global challenges, complementing the global economic coordination carried out by the G20. It brings together leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU). Italy holds the 2017 presidency, and Africa is on this year’s meeting agenda.

Prof. Senbet led the discussion on innovation in innovation at the Rome meeting. At closing, he reported the outcomes of the deliberations on innovation to the G7 Italian Sherpa, who will transmit the key messages to the G-7 meeting. AERC Executive Director said that “Africa’s economic Renaissance should be more inclusive and sustainable” (see video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiI195cVChY.

On May 5, 2017, in the context of the G7 “engagement groups” promoted by Italy’s Presidency of the G7, ISPI organized the Think Tank 7. The high–level panel involved representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks.  The conference, promoted with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility. The goal of the debate was to identify key areas where the G7 could bring added value. The critical points raised in the Think Tank Summit were then reported to the Italian Sherpa in charge of the preparatory process for the G7 Summit in Taormina.
 
About AERC

African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), established in 1988, is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.
# # #
For more information about this workshop or AERC, please contact:

The Executive Director
African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
Middle East Bank Towers, 3rd Floor, Jakaya Kikwete Road,
Tel: (+254-20) 273-4150 / 273-4157
Fax: (+254-20) 273-4173
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
www.aercafrica.org

 

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