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Europe’s Economic Woes – Launching Pad for Africa PDF Print E-mail

The 2012 MEFMI Combined Forum took place on Wednesday 10 October 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. The Combined Forum is held back to back with the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting and the World Bank/IMF Annual meetings.

The forum was officially opened by Honourable Maria Kiwanuka, M.P, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda. In her opening address she acknowledged in the overwhelming response by the ministers, governors and permanent secretaries to attend the Forum.  She stated that this was a clear demonstration of the commitment that senior policy makers have to the ideals of MEFMI. 

She reiterated that the Forum provides a useful vehicle for engaging policy makers on emerging issues and implementation of best practices. In that regard she considered that the 2012 Forum theme “Repositioning Eastern and Southern Africa in the Global Arena: Learning from the experiences of other regions” provided a different dimension as countries start taking a regional responsibility. 

Hon. Kiwanuka reminded the delegates that owing to the recent developments in Europe, regional economic blocks feel threatened but ideally those should be considered as launching pads to greater opportunities for African countries.

Speaking at the same event, the Governor of the Bank of Zambia, Dr. Michael Gondwe said he considered the forum had met its objectives and looked forward to MEFMI arranging similar gatherings for senior policy makers in the near future.

The objectives of the Forum were;

(i) To create awareness on the challenges and implications of regional integration following the Euro Debt Crisis;
(ii) To provide an appreciation of the role of financial sector policies in economic transformation; and
(iii) To explore ways of creating sovereign wealth funds from proceeds of natural resources;

To support and generate discussions around the theme and the objectives, the following topics were delivered:
• Challenges and Implications of Regional Integration: Lessons from the  Euro Debt Crisis;
• The role of Financial Sector Policies in Economic Transformation: Experiences of Japan;
• Management of  Natural Resources and Creation of Sovereign Wealth Fund: The Case of Norway; and
• Infrastructure Funding Through regional Bond Issuance.

Honourable Majozi Sithole, Minister of Finance, Swaziland chaired the first session.  The second session was chaired by Hon. Peter Kenneth, Assistant Minister for Planning National Development and Vision 2030, Kenya; while the third session was chaired by the Minister of Economic  Planning & Investment Promotion, Zimbabwe, Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada.

The forum was attended by 33 policy makers comprising  eight (8) ministers, one(1) deputy minister, ten (10)  governors, two (2) deputy governors,  ten (10) principal/permanent secretaries and one deputy permanent/principal secretary. In addition, the forum was attended by observers from Crown Agents, United Kingdom; Commonwealth Secretariat, United Kingdom; Pricewaterhouse Coopers,  and a representative from the Johannesburg Exchange; South Africa.

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