IMF-CEF-ATI High-Level Joint Webinar on Lessons from Success Cases on Economic Diversification

 

The Africa Training Institute (IMF-ATI) in Mauritius and the IMF-Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (IMF-CEF) in Kuwait, held on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 a high-level joint webinar on “The lessons from success cases in economic diversification: the way forward for Africa and the Middle East.”

The webinar, which was attended by over 550 participants from both regions, brought together senior policymakers from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa to exchange views on progress and challenges in diversifying their economies.

The event was moderated by Mame Astou Diouf from the IMF’s African Department. Mr. Andrew Berg from the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development provided opening remarks noting that, for many countries, including from these two regions, sustainable, strong, and inclusive growth calls for diversification and policies to bolster private sector development.

Professor Jose Antonio Ocampo from Columbia University kicked off the panel with a presentation on the conceptual framework of diversification in which he emphasized the importance of human and physical capital and financial intermediation as pillars of successful diversification strategies.

Mr. Papa N’Diaye from the IMF’s African Department and Mr. Roberto Cardarelli from the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department delved deeper into the topic by highlighting country experiences on diversification from both regions.

His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary of Trade Affairs Sector, U.A.E. discussed the UAE’s diversification experience while Dr. Lesedi Senatla from the Bank of Botswana offered insights on how Botswana succeeded in diversifying its economy.

In their remarks, panelists offered very useful perspectives and emphasized once again that economic diversification is vital to many countries and even more so during the times of the pandemic. They highlighted the key role of innovation, well-anchored industries, financial inclusion, availability of financing and quality of labor for success in structural transformation and in economic diversification.

The floor was then opened for a discussion with a diverse audience from both regions, including participants from the public sector, academia, the business community, and representatives from civil society and international organizations. Panelists answered questions centered around the impact of digitalization, exchange rate policies, financial inclusion, and the COVID-19 pandemic on diversification.

In their closing remarks, Mr. Abdoul Aziz Wane (Director of the IMF-ATI) and Mr. Paulo Drummond (Director of the IMFCEF) thanked participants and panelists for their insights and interesting discussions as well as the ATI and CEF staff for yet another successful joint event.  

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