Accra International Conference Centre
The second day of the Pan-African conference on inequality was entitled “Dialogue Three: Lessons in Addressing Inequalities in Africa”. The session was chaired by Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Economic Advisor to the President of Ghana.
Review of Previous Day’s Events
The session began with a review of the previous day’s activities by delegates. One delegate complained about the absence of a representative from a Francophone country in the session on country experiences and perspectives during yesterday’s session.
Professor Thandika Mkandawire, Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics, delivered a lecture that served as the framing statement of today’s discussion. In his lecture, Professor Mkandawire said the immediate post-colonial African governments were interested in achieving equality. Mostly, equality between the former colonists and the native African population. Most of the governments were Socialist or inclined to the political left.
With time, as governments became more capitalist and markets were liberalised, a new form of inequality – among the black citizens themselves – began to emerge, Professor Mkandawire said. He suggested that people initially celebrated this because they were proud to see their own nationals attain wealth.
The Professor also suggested that the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that was proposed by the World Bank and implemented by several African governments led to inequality. The inequality, he claimed, was seen as a positive outcome of the growth that SAP had achieved. The World Bank, Professor Mandikwe said, could only see the past correlation between equity and growth but did not have any policies for achieving them in tandem. He also suggested that it is only recently that the World Bank had become interested in inequality, but not as much as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Non-transformative sectors of African economies, such as the finance sector, are doing well. They are increasing attracting capital, as opposed to the transformative sectors such as industry, the Professor, suggested.
The professor concluded by suggesting that discussions on inequality should include industry players, as they were those who could actually work to address inequality. He also indicated the insufficiency of the Gini co-efficient to measure inequality.
Perspectives from Africa and Experiences from Other Regions
The session on the perspectives from Africa and other regions was chaired by Her Excellency Sarah Daraba Kaba, Secretary General of Mano River Union. Experiences were shared by Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, Former Secretary General, East African Community and President, Society for International Development; Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation; Honourable Seth Adjei Baah, President of the Executive Council, West Block, Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI); and Titiana Britto, Advisor, Legislative Advisory Board, Senate of Brazil.
Parallel Sessions on Structural Inequalities in Africa
The conference broke into parallel sessions on Employment & Entrepreneurship; Macroeconomic Policies for Inclusive Growth and Transformation; Financing Agenda for Structural Transformation; and Equity and Asset Inequalities.
This session was chaired by Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in in Africa.
The framework statement was on “Beyond Averages: The critical importance of data for tracking progress and evidenced based policies.” The statement was presented by Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of South Africa, and Chairman, Statistical Commission of Africa.
Parallel Sessions on Social and Political Inequalities in Africa
The conference broke into parallel sessions on Human rights, discrimination and marginalization; Gender Inequality; Political Inequality; Equitable Access to Quality Social Services; and Measuring Progress.
The conference continues tomorrow, April 30, 2014.