This volume, edited by Michel A. Dessart and Roland E. Ubogu, records the presentations made and discussions held during the Inaugural Seminar of the Joint Africa Institute (JAI). The JAI was established in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, by the African Development Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank to meet the pressing training needs of the African continent. The participants discussed four main topics: the changing role of the state, governance, and new capacity requirements; the challenge of achieving macroeconomic stability in Africa; the requirement for capacity building in Africa; and the role of international financial institutions in capacity building in Africa. The seminar was held in November 1999, but the topics and recommendations of the seminar remain current and of particular importance today. The seminar was held in English and French, and both language versions are contained in this volume. 240 pp. 2001
The food price spikes have prevented millions of people from escaping extreme poverty. The record prices in 2008 kept or pushed 105 million people below the poverty line in the short run. They hit urban poor and female-headed households hardest. While food prices dropped sharply in 2009 with the financial crisis, they quickly rebounded and by early 2011 were almost back to 2008 levels. Sudden, unexpected increases in food prices impose particularly severe hardship on many households because they need time to adjust to higher prices. The large, initial impact on poverty of a rise in food prices tends to decline over time as production increases and the income of the poor in rural areas rises, but it is usually not large enough to offset the initial negative impact on poverty in the short run.
Even temporarily high food prices affect the long-term development of children. Conditions of early life (from conception to two years) provide the foundations for adult human capital. Vicious interactions between malnutrition,1 poor health, and impaired cognitive development set children on lower development paths and lead to irreversible changes.
The global recovery shows signs of stalling amid deteriorating financial conditions. Global growth slowed to 3.9 percent in 2011 and is projected to decline further to 3.5 percent in 2012. The strongest slowdown is being felt in advanced economies, but the worsening external environment and some weakening in internal demand is expected to lead to lower growth in emerging and developing countries as well. This outlook is subject to downside risks, such as a much larger and more protracted bank deleveraging in the Euro Area or a hard landing among key emerging market countries. Against these broad developments, food, fuel, and other commodity prices have eased somewhat from their peaks in mid-2011; where high commodity prices had become a concern for broader price stability, this price decline has provided policy makers with greater flexibility to ease monetary policy.