KIGALI, Rwanda, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Knowledge products by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have had a field day here in Kigali, as participants at the 7th – African Economic Conference grab CDs, brochures, policy briefs, synthesis papers and copies of major reports by the Commission on their way into each session.
According to the Information and Communication Service of ECA, hundreds of such reports have been taken by participants and others not available at the conference venue could be downloaded online, Ms Muna Jamal of ECA’s Economic Development and NEPAD Division (EDND) says she has told participants.
But it is the ECA-funded Online Economic Analysis System (OCEANS) that stole the show during the first day of AEC 2012, says Ms Cynthia Alvillar, CEO of Applied Development Research Solutions (ADRS).
The Online Economic Analysis System is a web-based economics tool designed to help policymakers and researchers make quantitative predictions of African economies, Ms. Alvilla explains, adding that the tool is already in use in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and in South Africa.
Another group of countries, including Burkina Faso and Morocco have decided to apply it in the coming weeks, she says.
OCEANS is a new interactive website that allows users to design, simulate and forecast the impact of alternative economic policy scenarios.
The interactive tool allows users to easily input policy reforms for a given country and, within minutes, view how the policy choices affect the country’s economic growth, employment and income, she explains.
Since each country model is based on its unique input-output dataset, the generated results are unique to each country.
Access to OCEANS is free to all African Union Member States, government entities and institutions that use the system to conduct public policy research on Africa.
Mr. Adam Elhiraika, Chief of the Macroeconomic Analysis Section, at EDND who followed through the development of this innovative tool says he is sure and certain about the usefulness of the tool.
“The OCEANS website is the first of its kind. We believe that the interactive tool will become a unique hub for mainstreaming and integrating macroeconomic and sectoral policies in national development strategies”, he says.
Dr. Asghar Adelzadeh, the Chief Economic Modeler at ADRS, created OCEANS by expanding on earlier African country models built by ADRS, states one of its press releases.
Applied Development Research Solutions (ADRS) is a South Africa/U.S-based economic modeling and research company.
In another development, the Director of EDND, Mr. Emmanuel Nnadozie has praised the quality of ECA’s participation at the Kigali conference.
“The quality of knowledge products we have brought here and the way we see participants go for them does not only attest to ECA’s position as a knowledge generation institution on Africa’s economic issues but also shows the Commission’s increasing relevance to the region” says Nnadozie.
“Take a look at the theme of the conference which is Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty and you will realize how much it resonates with some of the most recent outstanding reports by ECA”, he adds.
The African Economic Conference holds every year and is jointly convened by the Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA), the African Development Bank, (AFDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
After today’s opening session, participants will begin work on the agenda proper tomorrow with three parallel sessions slated to hold on inclusive growth, foreign direct investment and public finance, according to the conference agenda distributed here.
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)