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How 'smart' trade policy can help Africa industrialise

Time (GMT +00) 16:30 18:00


Dirk Willem te Velde @DWteVelde - Principle Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


David Luke - Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Linda Calabrese @lindacalab - Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Abbi M. Kedir - Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in International Business, Sheffield University

Chi Atanga @ck_atanga - Founder, Walls of Benin


Despite promising signs of economic growth, many African countries are struggling to develop the strong industrial sector required for economic transformation and job creation. Fresh thinking is needed on how to achieve Africa’s industrialisation objectives, with trade and trade policy increasingly being looked to as key tools for the task.

Much recent research has explored this idea by analysing the extent to which current trade policies and tariff structures are positively contributing to the content’s industrialisation policy, and providing assessments of what African economies can do to industrialise ‘smartly’ through trade.

This event sees an expert panel debate these issues and seeks to put forward concrete policy recommendations for African economies looking to realise their industrialisation ambitions. 


Dirk Willem te Velde is a Principal Research Fellow and head of ODI's International Economic Development Group. He is the director of the Supporting Economic Transformation programme and a Research Leader for the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme.  He has published widely on trade, investment and economic transformation. He has advised country governments and parliaments in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and donor agencies such as DFID, European Commission, UN and the World Bank. He was also Team Leader for the European Report on Development (ERD) 2015 on Combining Finance and Policies to Implement a Transformative Post-2015 Agenda.

David Luke is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa with the rank of a director at the Commission. He is responsible for leading ECA's research, policy advisory services, training and capacity development on inclusive trade policies and in particular the boosting intra-African trade and the continental free trade area initiatives. His portfolio also includes WTO, EPAs, Brexit, AGOA, Africa's trade with emerging economies, and trade and cross-cutting policy areas such as trade, industrialization and structural transformation, trade and gender, trade and public health and trade and climate change. Prior to joining ECA in 2014, he served as UNDP trade policy adviser in Southern Africa and Geneva and also as Senior Economist and Chief of Trade at the Organization for African Unity/African Union Commission, and as an Associate Professor  at Dalhousie University  in Halifax, Canada.  

Linda Calabrese is a development economist and Research Fellow in ODI's International Economic Development Group. Her research interests include trade and regional integration, private sector and investment, industrial policy and economic transformation. Linda has experience in using research to inform policy and she has worked extensively with policymakers. A fluent Mandarin speaker, she is interested in China-Africa issues. Prior to moving to London, Linda spent four years in East Africa (Uganda and Rwanda) working with government and research organisations.

Abbi M. Kedir is an applied quantitative economist with vast experience (over 25 years) in analysing and modelling development issues with policy focus on economies of Africa.  He got his BA in Economics with distinction in 1991 in Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia followed by his MSc in Economics and Econometrics with distinction in 1998 and PhD in Economics from the University of Nottingham (UK) in 2003. He has experience of working on many regions of the world as a consultant to organisations such as the World Bank and Department for International Development (DFID). He served as government civil servant in Ethiopia (for 2 years in the 1990’s) and as an economic affairs officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in 2014 and 2015. He was a lecturer/assistant professor in Economics at the University of Leicester from 2002 to 2012 before joining the UN.  In addition to winning several research grants from major funding councils and supervising 15 PhD students, he published more than 30 peer-reviewed international journal articles and numerous book chapters. 

Chi Atanga is the British-Cameroonian founder of 'Made in Africa' fashion company Walls of Benin, and works at the intersection of art and design, international trade, and African industrial policy. Chi currently serves on an Enquiry Committee co-chaired by Lord Purvis of Tweed, Hon. James Cleverly MP and Nigerian Trade Minister Hon. Minister Enelamah, assessing the ability of the Commonwealth to help countries trade their way out of poverty. 


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