ABCDE 2011: Broadening opportunities for development

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At the next Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), to be held at the OECD in Paris on 30 May – 1 June, leading economic thinkers and policy makers will discuss how economic opportunities can be broadened to accelerate poverty reduction, promote human development, and stimulate inclusive growth. Felix Zimmermann of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate outlines the aims of the conference and introduces the key speakers.

These are uncertain times for decision makers concerned with development issues. The global financial crisis and its after-effects have tested their ability to facilitate job creation, improve education, equip young people with marketable skills, and design effective social protection programmes.

How might people be provided with better opportunities to access education and health services, and other forms of human capital? How might they be provided with access to affordable financial services and the ability to own land or other assets? How can better service delivery be ensured? And how can gender equality be promoted and ensured?

At ABCDE 2011, which will be co-hosted by the OECD, the Government of France and the World Bank, four distinguished policy makers and academics will deliver keynote speeches.

  • Michelle Bachelet*, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, will share her views on gender equality and the empowerment of women at global, regional and country levels.
  • Daniel Cohen, Director, Centre for Economic Research and its Applications (CEPREMAP, France), will discuss globalization and wealth and income disparities among countries.
  • Christine Lagarde*, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry of France, will elaborate on role of the G20 as a new international forum for global economic cooperation in the 21st century.
  • Francis Kramarz, Director, Centre for Economic Research and Statistics (CREST, France), will share results of his work on job and labour-market policies in developed countries.

Five plenary sessions will focus on current research and policies, addressing various dimensions of the challenge of broadening opportunities for development.

  • John Roemer and Vito Peragine will reflect on the concept of inequality of opportunities and how it can be measured;
  • John Haltiwanger and Francis Teal will explore the issues of job creation and the performance of labour markets, firm growth, and other issues in developed and developing countries, particularly Africa;
  • Janet Currie and Rodrigo Soares will provide insights on how early intervention programmes in health, education, and other social services can benefit human capital formation in young people and their transition to the labour market;
  • Stefan Dercon and Sudarno Sumarto* will review the literature on social protection programmes, with a particular focus on African countries and Indonesia;
  •  Finally, Pierre André Chiappori and Raquel Fernandez will look at female empowerment and labour market participation, among other outcomes, and analyze the role that household behavior and norms play in influencing these outcomes.

A High-Level Roundtable on “Democratizing Development Economics” will close ABCDE 2011. Panelists will be asked how developing countries can play a part in designing, implementing, and continually improving development solutions. How can the development community broaden its sources of knowledge, taking on board a wider set of lessons from emerging markets and developing countries? How can research in such countries be supported? And how can research and data be disseminated more widely, providing developing countries with the tools for sound development policy?

The OECD, the Government of France and the World Bank are honoured to be collaborating with one another on ABCDE 2011.

To apply to participate in the conference, click here. The deadline is 1 May.


* to be confirmed.

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