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Collaborative International Efforts Urged to Address Economic Planning Data Challenges

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Access to reliable and up-to-date economic data is a pressing challenge for economic policy makers seeking to shape favorable development plans in Africa. Recognizing this, the three-day 2023 African Econometric Society (AFES) meeting opened, bringing together esteemed experts and leaders in the field. The conference, organized in collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), focused on the importance of econometric professionals and their role in providing accurate economic statistics to support development planning in the continent.

Econometrics, which involves the application of economic theory, mathematics, and statistical inference, is crucial in quantifying economic phenomena. By translating theoretical economic models into practical tools for policymaking, econometrics plays a pivotal role in guiding economic decisions. The AFES meeting aimed to emphasize the importance of reliable data provided by econometricians and its contribution to informed policy formulation.

During his keynote address at the AFES meeting, Kenya’s National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, highlighted the frustration experienced by economic planning and management professionals due to unreliable data. He called for collaborative efforts among policymakers not only in Africa but also globally to address the challenge of accessing current and credible economic data for effective planning. Prof. Ndung’u stressed the significance of having dependable economists, statisticians, and econometricians available in a timely manner to support economic decision-making.

The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), as a leading institution in economic policy, research, and planning capacity building, is poised to enhance the role of econometrics in Africa to bolster economic resilience. AERC Executive Director, Prof. Théophile Azomahou, acknowledged the vital role of research in economic development and emphasized AERC’s commitment to transitioning towards excellence in research. The consortium aims to expand its reach from the regional level in Sub-Saharan Africa to the continental and global levels, focusing on knowledge generation in economics and policy impact and advocacy.

The opening ceremony also witnessed remarks from Ambassador Ole Thonke of the Royal Danish Embassy in Kenya, who emphasized the importance of better research in unlocking Africa’s potential and addressing structural issues and challenges. Ambassador Thonke expressed his belief in the abundant skilled manpower and natural resources available in Kenya and Africa, which, when harnessed through improved research and policies, can unlock greater opportunities for a prosperous future.

Africa’s Involvement in Global Economic Research: Prof. Rosa Matzkin, President of The Econometrics Society, stressed the significance of Africa’s participation in research for economic measurements. Acknowledging the continent’s progress, Prof. Matzkin highlighted the importance of sufficient, reliable, and fresh evidence to inform national policies in various domains. The inclusion of Africa in the committee of The Econometrics Society exemplifies the continent’s frontier position in research and its commitment to well-designed economic proposals.

In addition to addressing contemporary economic challenges, the AFES meeting provided an occasion to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith, the father of modern economics. Renowned for his influential book “The Wealth of Nations,” published in 1776, Smith’s insights continue to hold relevance today. Policy makers and scholars attending the plenary session reflected on the challenges facing the global economy and explored how Smith’s ideas could be applied to address them.

The 2023 African Econometric Society (AFES) meeting, in collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), underscored the importance of reliable economic data in driving development planning in Africa.

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