Identifying opportunities for regional collaboration in Africa. Highlighting the role of innovation in COVID-19 recovery. Strengthening Africa’s response to climate risks. Coaching and supporting small and medium enterprises in Ghana. Throughout 2021, the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) provided analysis, advice, and advocacy on a wide range of topics critical to Africa’s transformation.
Check out ten of our most important areas of focus this year:
Inclusive COVID-19 recovery in Africa
On March 15, ACET and the World Bank brought together champions of inclusion at the webinar Bringing Everyone Along: Solutions for an Inclusive Recovery in Africa. The discussion yielded ideas and solutions for achieving a sustainable, resilient – and critically, inclusive – recovery across the African continent.
Evidence in policymaking in Ghana
Strengthening Evidence Use for Development Impact (SEDI) is a five-year program funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, designed to strengthen the use of evidence in policymaking in selected sectors in Ghana, Pakistan, and Uganda. The SEDI diagnostic report for Ghana, published by ACET in March, analyzes the political economy of policymaking and the evidence ecosystem in three sectors: economic development, public financial management, and health and suggests smart interventions.
African innovation and recovery
Policy experts and researchers from ACET and the Development and Economic Growth Research Programme, in partnership with explored the critical role of innovation in Africa’s recovery from COVID-19 in a special essay series. The 15 essays provide guidance for effective recovery responses and offer high-level policy recommendations on a range of innovation topics from AI-enabled health care to the role of fintech in driving an inclusive recovery, to the opportunities offered by climate-smart agriculture and more.
On April 19, ACET and the Center for Global Development co-hosted a panel discussion between African policymakers, gender experts, and private sector representatives on the need for gender equality to be at the heart of the economic and political response to COVID-19. Panelists highlighted the various gendered impacts of the pandemic – from increased violence against women, to an intensifying burden of care and disproportionate economic hardships – and offered gender-sensitive economic recovery policy proposals.
African Transformation Report 2021: Integrating to Transform
The third edition of ACET’s flagship report finds that progress on economic transformation in Africa has been slow, with too many countries working in isolation. African countries need to come together and increase collaboration on policies and issues that, as with COVID-19, are national priorities in need of regional solutions.
The report analyzes shared challenges and highlights opportunities for collaboration across three key areas: ensuring productive employment, supporting digital innovation, and managing climate risks.
African Transformation Forum
The third African Transformation Forum (ATF) was held virtually on July 15, 2021. The forum provided a platform for leaders in government, business, academia, and civil society to discuss the ways that African countries—and all development stakeholders—can better collaborate to remove barriers to progress and address national priorities through regional solutions. The ATF also served as the official launch of Integrating to Transform, ACET’s third African Transformation Report.
ACET and the African Union Development Agency co-hosted the webinar Climate Change: Securing Africa’s Future on November 15. Coming on the heels of COP26 in Glasgow, panelists discussed the outcome of the conference, Africa’s position in the global climate conversation, and the challenges of financing climate adaptation in a post-COVID-19 economic recovery era.
The event kicked off a series of three webinars that bring together experts for deep-dive discussions on findings from Integrating to Transform: Climate Change, Employment, and Digital Innovation. Stay tuned in 2022 for our next two deep dive events.
Supporting small and medium enterprises
ACET’s Private Sector Development (PSD) unit officially launched the ACET Business Transform (ABT) program in November. ABT will help ten Ghanaian businesses move to the next level—first, to investment readiness, then to integration into competitive global value chains. The cohort of SMEs, operating in the agribusiness, manufacturing, cosmetics, and e-mobility sectors, will receive coaching, mentorship, and ultimately investment-readiness certification.
The Transformation Leadership Panel
The Transformation Leadership Panel (TLP) held three virtual meetings in March, May, and November 2021, continuing its strong focus on advancing the issues most important for Africa’s economic transformation. This group of leaders from government, private sector, international organizations, and civil society welcomed Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank in March and Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat in May, helping to shape advocacy and policy progress in the areas of finance and regional coordination in Africa.
Read more about the TLP
Building forward better for economic recovery
To kick off 2021, ACET President and Founder KY Amoako spoke to Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank on the Afronomics podcast about the last five decades of crises, successes, and development in Africa to see what lessons can be applied for the continent’s economic recovery. One year later, executive Vice President Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi discussed the importance of safeguarding jobs and livelihoods in Africa to ensure countries build forward better at the World Bank’s Resilient Recovery Series: Ensuring the Poorest Are Not Left Behind webinar.
Listen to Afronomics: Learning from five decades of development in Africa featuring KY Amoako
Watch: Resilient Recovery Series: Ensuring the Poorest Are Not Left Behind featuring Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi