African Economic Research Consortium to Host a Virtual Plenary Session on: COVID-19 Pandemic and Public Finance in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

PUBLISHED: Wed, 25 Nov 2020 10:25:59 GMT

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African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) ( will host its 53rd Plenary Session on the theme on the “Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic and Public Finance in Africa – Challenges and Opportunities” on December 7, 2020. The sessions will be held virtually where researchers, academics, policy makers, and non-state actors will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Public Finance in Africa in terms of the challenges ahead and opportunities afforded. The official opening of this session will be by Hon. Dr. Thapelo C. Matsheka, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Botswana and the Policy Panel led and chaired by Honorable Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria where leaders of Central Banks and Revenue Authorities will be represented.

“While the African continent has registered relatively lower deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic, most countries have put in place a wide range of restrictions on businesses operations and mobility of people to contain the spread of the virus and has  impacted negatively on economic activities. The growth outlook for 2020 for Africa hovered around 3.2% before the pandemic struck, which is one of the lowest since 2013. Thus, growth and the capacity for growth in African economies was already fragile. What is less emphasized in these perilous times is Africa’s weak capacity of health care systems and the health care infrastructure beyond the governance issues that have emerged. These are all likely to exacerbate the pandemic and will have very negative impact on the African economies, thus reversing the gains of poverty reduction and human capital developments that have been achieved in the last 20 years”, said Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, AERC’s Executive Director.

During the session, Dr Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist and Vice President for African Development Bank, will deliver the keynote speech on COVID-19 Impact on Public Finance in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for African economies. The plenary will feature presentations by lead academics and experts in the field. These include:

The Political Economy of State Capacity to Mobilize Taxes in Africa by Prof. James Robinson, University of Chicago Taxation and State Building in Africa: Agenda for Action by Dr. Catherine Pattillo, Assistant Director, IMF Information Technology and Tax Mobilization in Times of Covid-19 by Dr. Oyebola Okunogbe, World Bank Fiscal Sustainability in Africa: Accelerating the Post-COVID-19 Recovery through Improved Public Finances by Dr Edward Sennoga, African Development Bank

The policy Panel:

H.E. Dr. Eyob Tekalign, State Minister of Finance, Ethiopia. H.E. Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of Central Bank, Ghana. H.E. Commissioner General Gathii Mburu, Kenya Revenue Authority.  H.E. Aziz Gueye, Deputy Director of the Senegal Tax Office.

In the lead up to the plenary session, AERC will host the Binannual Research Workshop Concurrent sessions from Monday, 23 November –  Friday, 27 November 2020, which will include five parallel Thematic Groups that cover the focal areas of AERC’s thematic research programme; the pilar for capacity building through research:

Group A: Poverty, Labour Markets, and Income Distribution Group B: Macroeconomic Policy and Growth Group C: Finance and Resource Mobilization Group D: Production, Trade and Economic Integration Group E: Agriculture, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management

We shall have up to 70 papers presented during these concurrent sessions, each addressing different policy issues. This workshop is basically a capacity building event intended to sharpen participants’ research skills. You can join these discussions using the link provided.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Economic Research Consortium.

Media Contact: For African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Mr Charles Owino Publications Manager Mobile: +254 (0) 721 382 777 Email:

For Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) Ms Tshego Tshangela Account Manager Mobile: +27 (0) 84 624 2996 Email:

About African Economic Research Consortium (AERC): The AERC ( was established in 1988 and has become a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. The AERC’s mission rests on two premises: first, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy; second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cohort of locally based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. The AERC is a network that builds capacity through three primary components: research, graduate training in economics, and communications and policy outreach. The organization integrates high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training, and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities, and policy makers across Africa and beyond. In the current five years strategy, the AERC has emphasized the themes of raising its quality for research and graduate training outputs that will develop a momentum of its own sustainability that will become important for policy influence across SSA economies. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @aercafrica.

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