ABCDE Conference 2008, World Bank
Date: 09-11 June 2008
Venue: Cape town - South Africa -

Cape Town, South AfricaThe Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics, one of the world’s best known series of conferences on development, took place at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town (South Africa) on 9-11 June 2008. It was jointly organized by the World Bank and the National Treasury of South Africa. Many participants from the OIC Member Countries attended the Conference.

Prominent speakers of the Conference included among others: Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, Trevor Manuel, Minister of Finance of South Africa, Justin Lin, the World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist and Michael Spence, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics and the Chair of the Commission on Growth and Development. South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel began the conference proceedings by warning about the weakening support for globalization and by urging the participants to focus on how to make growth more comprehensive and sustainable. South African President Thabo Mbeki then delivered an opening address where he spoke of the need to relate development economics to the central task of advancing human progress.

Also at the opening, World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin lauded Africa’s recent growth trends, adding “Our obligation is to strengthen this trend along the road to a world free of poverty. But people are not just the end – they are also the means of development. They need incentives, opportunities and the ability to work. This very much depends on government – on politics.” He also denoted to the China and other East Asia economies as success examples of globalization.

On the other hand, Mr. Mansoor Dailami, Manager of International Finance in the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group presented a cautionary advice on the Internationalization of Banking which offers great potential for developing country financial markets, but also bears the risks of transmission of financial shocks, since 40% of domestic banking assets are now owned by foreign banks.

Also during the Conference the Growth Report of the Commission on Growth and Development was launched by Michael Spence. The released Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development highlights mainly the need of the developing countries for leaders who are determined and committed to achieving fast and equitable growth by taking advantage of opportunities from the global economy.

In a press conference held in the sideline of the ABCDE conference Mr. Michael Spence expressed how the United States and European Union made it more attractive for their farmers to plant crops for fuel instead of for food. He added that as a result of this, the food supply had decreased and did not meet the demand, which resulted in higher food prices. He added that developing countries, African states included, are hardest hit by the food crisis. According to Spence, people in poor countries use a large part of their household income on food, which make them the prime victims. But he emphasised that the situation was not all doom and gloom for there was a huge opportunity for Africa, a resource-rich compared with other parts of the world.

He concluded that the wealth could be invested in and used for programmes that promote job creation and boost agricultural production.

The Conference held the title of “People, Politics & Globalization”, focusing on three broad themes: 

  • Globalization, Investment and Growth
  • Human Development for Equitable Growth
  • The Political Economy of Shared Growth

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