Country-specific discussions and new perspectives round out Day 2 of the Accra conference

Shenggen Fan closing speech

Shenggen Fan gives closing remarks


Day 2 of the “Understanding Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa” conference featured presentations highlighting similarities and constrasts in how individual countries are responding to structural transformation: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, and, of course, Ghana. (The country case study presentations and some discussant presentations are linked on the agenda page.)

Sessions also included new perspectives on this economic transformation, including an overview of migration in Africa by IFPRI’s Alan de Brauw, an explanation of the importance of the informal sector by Louise Fox of the World Bank, and an illustration of the transforming affects of hosting large numbers of refugees, by IFPRI’s Jean Francois Maystadt.

The conference ended with insights from IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan on research issues and challenges — including the need for good data, the importance of using a range of methodologies, and a suggestion to look further into the effect of the changing global landscape and emerging economies in Brazil, China and India — and encouragement to continue this important research.

In Shenggen’s words,
“Transformation should therefore be treated as a dynamic and multi-dimensional process that has the potential to support poverty reduction and food security. However, more research is needed to learn why countries transform as they do, and what can be done to facilitate better development outcomes.”

Notes from Shenggen Fan’s speech can be found on the agenda page and here.

Conference Day 1

We had a full and productive day of presentations and discussions during the first day of the “Understanding Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa conference” here in Accra, beginning with research presentations by Derek Headey, IFPRI, and Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, and ending with  historical context  given by former minister J H Mensah and Center for Policy Analysis Executive Director Joe Abbey.  We look forward to your continued participation in today’s sessions which will focus on responses to structural change and specific country case studies of structural transformation.

Welcome to Accra!

Welcome to Accra and the Labadi Beach Hotel.  The program begins tomorrow, Tuesday May 10 with registration at 8:30 am.

Please continue to check this blog for papers and presentations, which are being posted as they come in.

Conference papers now available

Many of the papers written for the “Understanding Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa” conference are  now available for reading and downloading.   Please go to the “agenda” tab to see the latest draft conference agenda with links from each presentation to the respective paper. Related papers are also posted, as well as the bios of many of the speakers.

Field trips for conference participants

Conference partipicants have the opportunity to go on a half-day field trip on Monday, May 9th or a full day trip on Thursday, May 12th. Descriptions of the trips are below and at this link.

Please confirm your attendance by April 29th to Rinnah Kusi ( Indicate which trip(s) you are planning to attend.

May 9th: Blue Skies Products Company Limited

Blue Skies is an award winning fresh-cut fruit company with factories in Ghana, Egypt, South Africa and Brazil.

In Ghana it is located about an hour’s drive from Accra. The company sells prepared fruit products to retailers throughout Europe and is passionate about creating opportunities for sustainable development by adding value to raw materials within the country of origin. Their factory in Ghana employs 1,500 people and is responsible for 5% of Ghanaian non-traditional exports. The site has a clinic, library, internet café and subsidized canteen, and the business contributes £2.5 million in to the local economy through salaries. In 2008 the company received a Queens Award for Enterprise for its contribution to Sustainable Development.

Blue Skies is working to develop and test a new technological process to manufacture premium quality, fresh tasting juice that can be sea-freighted to the UK. A number of tests have been undertaken assessing the consumers’ response to the pineapple and tropical mix juices in comparison with their expectations and with other brands. In parallel, work has been ongoing to re-brand the  company to ensure that its values are understood by the consumer as well as the
products’ story from farm to shelf. By processing the drinks in the same country the raw material is sourced and using sea freight rather than air. Blue Skies will create more employment, which will further contribute to local economic development on an environmentally and economically sustainable basis.

May 12th: Kakum National Park

Kakum National Park is made up of mostly undisturbed virgin rainforest and is one of the famous national parks in Ghana.

It is situated about 33km north of Cape Coast, Central Regional capital and
about 170km from Accra. Travel time between Accra and Kakum is more than two hours.

It covers an area of 350km2 (including Assin Attandanso Resource Reserve). The vegetation type is moist evergreen rainforest with tall hardwood trees up 65m in height. The park is rich with different species of wildlife including 40 species of mammals (forest elephants, buffalo, leopard, bongo, yellow backed duiker, red river hog, primates), over 200 species of birds, large number of reptiles and amphibians, over 400 species of butterflies.

Continue reading

Economic Transformation in Africa Conference

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the University of Ghana are organizing an international conference on Economic Transformation in Africa to be held on May 10-11, 2011, in Accra, Ghana.

This conference will bring together leading researchers, policymakers and representatives of development organizations from Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world to present and discuss research on economic transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa and its policy implications. The conference will include overviews of the structural and spatial transformations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as seven country case studies.

Conference participants will include Ernest Aryeetey (University of Ghana), Ravi Kanbur (Cornell University), Dani Rodrik (Harvard University), Stefan Dercon (Oxford University), country case study authors from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda, and IFPRI senior research staff.