7 November 2017

Economic Commission for Africa (Addis Ababa)

Africa: Experts to Discuss the Challenges and Implications of Declining Commodity Prices in Southern Africa

press release

Lusaka, Zambia, 6 November 2017 (ECA) - The ECA Office for Southern Africa in collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) will organize the Ad-hoc Expert Group Meeting (AEGM) on the theme “Promoting Growth and Economic Transformation in Southern Africa: The Challenges and Implications of Declining Commodity Prices” on 16 and 17 November 2017 at Walvis Bay, Namibia.

The recent call for accelerated industrialization in Southern Africa through the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap and attendant national industrial policies has elevated the need for diversification. As such, there is wide recognition that the sub-region needs to diversify its economic structure, but obstacles and challenges remain. Whether Southern Africa will be able to turn the current commodity price downturn into an opportunity remains to be seen.

Given that high dependence on primary commodities is not sustainable and population growth is between 2 and 3 per cent per year in most Southern African nations, adequate jobs will need to be created to keep pace with the growing number of people. Additionally, the negative effects of the El Nino and other weather-related phenomena have compounded the adverse effects of the commodity price decline putting food security at risk.

The meeting will review the consequences of dependency on primary commodities in Southern Africa in the face of low and declining prices, and explore policy options and recommend strategies towards addressing the associated challenges. It will also discuss the opportunities for economic diversification from commodities and the risks posed by low commodity prices; explore options for participation in regional and global value chains and proffer recommendations on how Southern Africa can better prepare for future commodity super-cycles.

Participants will review the report on “Promoting Growth and Economic Transformation in Southern Africa: The Challenges and Implications of Declining Commodity Prices” and provide recommendations to improve the draft.

The meeting will be attended by experts in the areas of development economics, international development, trade and regional integration, academia, government, regional economic communities, development partners, private sector and civil society.
Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia

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