The economics of Africa: Leicester expert presents papers at major international conference

Posted by mjs76 at Oct 28, 2011 10:16 AM |
Dr Abbi Mamo Kedir from our Department of Economics has been in Ethiopia this week for the Sixth African Economic Congress.

Dr Kedir, a Lecturer in Economics who has published several papers on Ethiopian economic issues, travelled to Addis Ababa to present two papers co-authored with Gamal Ibrahim from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

In the first, ‘Household Credit, Consumption and Asset Growth in Urban Ethiopia’, they analysed survey data from a panel of urban Ethiopian households who were interviewed five times between 1994 and 2004. Kedir and Ibrahim looked at how consumption varied with levels of loans and also with remittances (money sent from family members working abroad).

The results showed that loans had no effect in boosting household wealth in terms of either consumption or accumulation of fixed assets, but remittances made a big difference. On the other hand, households receiving remittances exhibited few instances of self-employment or entrepreneurship whereas loan recipients were much more likely to set themselves up in business, with the potential for employment opportunities and economic growth which this brings.

The second paper, on which UNECA’s Adam Elhiraika and Abdalla Hamdok were also joint authors, was entitled ‘Revisiting the Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa: The Role of Institutions and Policy Reforms’.

By studying data on foreign direct investment (FDI) in 31 African countries over 26 years (1984-2009) the team identified that significant factors affecting levels of FDI include market size, corruption, domestic credit, share of oil in exports, risk of religious tension and previous levels of FDI. Foreign investors tend to be conservative and invest in areas where they (or their competitors) have invested before. Attracting FDI to new areas will require political stability, a good level of efficient bureaucracy and effective combating of corruption and religious tension.

The African Economic Congress is organised annually by UNECA, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Hundreds of economists, academics, researchers, civil servants and media representatives from across the continent, and beyond, attend the four-day event which this year concentrated on the theme of 'Green Economy and Structural Transformation' with many papers examining the impact of climate change on African economies.

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