Africa's economic growth in a new global context

24 October 2018 17:00 - 18:30 GMT +1 (BST)
Public event
Streamed live online

Contributing chair 

Dirk Willem te Velde @DWteVelde - Head of Programme, International Economic Development Group, ODI


H.E. Victor Harison - Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union

Mario Pezzini @mariopezzini - Director, OECD Development Centre

Rachel Turner - Director, Economic Development, Department for International Development (DFID)

Dr Desné Masie - Senior Associate, Global Counsel


Africa is the world's second fastest-growing region, experiencing average annual GDP growth of 4.6% for the period from 2000 and 2016. For the current five-year period until 2022, Africa’s real GDP is projected to grow at 3.9% annually. However, providing better jobs, ensuring growth is sustainable and reducing inequalities need to be at the forefront of policy-making for growth to improve well-being and boost industrialisation.

This event brings together experts, including from the OECD and African Union Commission, to discuss the major economic and social trends that are impacting on African development and their policy implications for the continent’s relations with Europe and the rest of the world. The event explores pressing questions for African development:

  • What are the major economic and social trends in Africa and how are these likely to develop?
  • How can job and economic growth be maximised in Africa to enhance sustainability and well-being?
  • What actions are needed to achieve the objectives of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in a changing global context?
  • How should policy making be tailored to address the diverse set of challenges across the continent?

This event features the UK launch of the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre report Africa's Development Dynamics 2018.


Dr Dirk Willem te Velde is a Principal Research Fellow and head of the International Economic Development Group. He is the director of Supporting Economic Transformation 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. 

Mr Mario Pezzini is Director of the OECD Development Centre and has now nominated Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development. The OECD Development Centre is an institution where governments, enterprises and civil society organisations informally discuss questions of common interest. The Centre helps policy makers in OECD and partner countries find innovative solutions to the global challenges of development. Before joining the Development Centre in 2010, Mario Pezzini held several senior management positions in the OECD, where he has been working since 1995.

H.E. Prof. Victor Harison is Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union and has served in the position since August 2017. Previously he held the positions of Director General of the National Institute of Accounting and Business Administration (INSCAE), Antananarivo from 1997 to 2017, and Director of Studies and Programming, Ministry of Higher Education and Executive Secretary of the "Human Resources Development" project, administered by the World Bank, Antananarivo from 1993 to 1997.

Rachel Turner is Director of Economic Development at Department for International Development. Previously, she was director for East and Central Africa, overseeing DFID’s programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. She has over 20 years of development experience in low and middle income countries of Africa, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. She has a strong understanding of public and private sector development issues and wide involvement with the multilateral and bilateral development architecture. 

Dr Desné Masie is a thought leader in international economics and financial markets, with expertise in regulation and policy. She is a senior associate in the financial services practice at Global Counsel, where she specialises in the regulation of cross-border financial services and fintech.  She has held senior roles in academia, media and finance in the UK and South Africa, including Investec and Alexander Forbes. Dr Masie is a fellow in international political economy at the Wits School of Governance in Africa.  She has written for a range of financial media and was also named in Innovate Finance’s 2017 Women in Fintech Powerlist.