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The African Economic Conference 2014 will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 1-3 November, 2014. As in previous years, the Conference will provide a unique opportunity for researchers, policy-makers and development practitioners from Africa and elsewhere, to explore Africa’s existing knowledge generation approaches and frameworks, the efficacy of its knowledge and innovation institutions in developing needed skills, technology and innovation capacities. It will look at the policies required in the areas of knowledge generation and innovation to achieve Africa’s transformation agenda.

The Conference will comprise a number of plenary sessions as well as break-out sessions that will feature presentations and discussions by prominent academics, policy-makers, business actors (including emerging technological/digital entrepreneurs and the youth) and opinion leaders, as well as representatives from development partner organisations.

The break-out sessions will allow for more in-depth and technical analyses of salient issues arising from the thematic focus of the Conference. The sub-themes suggested below will enable a broad range of discussions on the current state of Africa’s transformation capacity and generate valuable insights for improved policy-making. The following sub-thematic areas are proposed:

Knowledge Generation for Structural Transformation

  • Role of tertiary institutions in promoting structural transformation
  • Assessing the relative contribution of the sciences and the arts to transformation
  • Best practice in generating knowledge for structural transformation; lessons learnt from African and other regional experience
  • Financing educational reforms

Addressing the Skills Deficit

  • Estimating the magnitude of skills required to achieve economic and social transformation objectives (analysis by different economic sector or by goal, e.g. breaking into global supply/value chains, etc.)
  • Best practice in exploiting regional and sub-regional opportunities for skills development
  • Best practice on adapting skills to industry requirements
  • Financing skills development
  • Industry-government-academia cooperation on skills development


  • Role of technology in social mobility/inequality reduction
  • Best practice in fostering technology transfer
  • Financing technological upgrading
  • Innovative strategies for promoting technology commercialization
  • Innovation
  • Identifying critical innovation barriers and gaps in Africa
  • Best practice in financing innovation from public and private sources
  • Exploiting regional and sub-regional opportunities for fostering innovation
  • Best practice in addressing barriers and empowering youth

Papers accepted for presentation will comprise original work not previously published. Young African women and men researchers are especially encouraged to submit papers. The AEC series is particularly envisaged to provide young African researchers with the opportunity to share their work with as broad an audience as possible, with a view to expanding their networks. As is the tradition, a distinguished panel will assess the papers presented and award a prize to the author of the paper deemed as the Best Conference Paper. The winner will be announced at the closing ceremony.


On submitting their abstracts, authors will be requested to indicate whether they require support to cover expenses (travel, accommodation and daily subsistence allowance) associated with their participation at the Conference. Only one author per paper accepted for presentation will be eligible for support. Support is reserved for presenters and young researchers from Africa.

AEC Partners