ABCDE 2011 Roundtable: Democratising development economics

The 2011 ABCDE event closed with an engaging roundtable on “Democratizing Development Economics”. Moderated by Stéphanie Antoine from France 24, the roundtable featured Esther Duflo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; Martine Durand, OECD; Kyung Wook Hur, Korean Ambassador to the OECD; Mustapha K. Nabli, Governor, Central Bank of Tunisia; Désiré Vencatachellum, African Development Bank (AfDB); and Martin Ravallion, Director, Development Research Group, World Bank.

ABCDE 2011 Roundtable: Democratising Development Economics

According to Mr. Vencatachellum, democratizing development is very much related to issues of ‘voice’ and ‘participation’. “Where is the voice of Africa?, he asked, and “Who tells the story and how is it been told?” In his view, Africa needs to be part of a dialogue and African decision makers need to be part of this dialogue. Communication is also a key element and in his view there is still too much of a distance between researchers and practitioners. Progress in communication is fundamental to make progress in democratizing development.

For Ms. Martine Durand there is a need to better measure and capture the important measure in the different regions. Democratizing information is the basis of democratizing development. Therefore, she welcomed open data initiatives and invited donors and international agencies to open up their data.

From his side, Mr. Mustapha Nabli underlined the importance of facilitating the knowledge transition from developed to developing countries. Policy design is extremely important. However, for Mr. Nabli it is not possible to just take any policy message from one country and implement it  elsewhere. In other words, you need people in developing countries that have the capacity to distil lessons in an applicable way for their own country. Research capacity is therefore extremely important and international organisations need to do more in helping to build these capacities.

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