Welcome Session

Dr Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of the IGC, welcomed the participants to the IGC’s second Africa Growth Forum. Dr Leape talked about the mission of the IGC, and in particular, explored the process of knowledge creation. Knowledge creation is most effective when researchers and policymakers come together through dialogue to discover the key policy questions. There are a number of challenges to doing this, but which IGC is uniquely positioned to facilitate through its extensive network of top scholars and its embedded country teams.

Dr Henry K Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, delivered the official opening speech, and thanked the IGC for hosting the Africa Growth Forum in Accra. Africa is receiving significant attention and there is strong optimism about Africa’s economic growth, even amidst challenging global economic conditions. However, there are two underlying challenges:

· How do we sustain the growth process?

· How do we translate this growth into employment opportunities for the continent’s large youth population?

Africa’s vast natural resource base has been a strong source of the economic growth, but also makes countries very vulnerable to macroeconomic instability which can hinder growth efforts. Another challenge is the lack of the necessary infrastructure which would support socioeconomic development. In spite of fiscal constraints, governments must find ways to break the vicious cycles that keeps Africa underdeveloped. The Governor hoped that the Africa Growth Forum will generate practical ideas around these issues, and stressed that while solutions may be grounded in theory, they need to take into count local conditions and constraints.

By Jeanett Rosbak, Coordinator, IGC Hub