The inaugural African Chief Economic Advisors’ Forum took place at the University of Oxford from 6 to 8 February 2019. The Forum, organized by the World Bank’s Africa Region in collaboration with the University of Oxford, brought together 19 Chief Economic Advisors to African Heads of State or Heads of Government. Advisors attended from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, eSwatini, Gabon, Ghana; Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia and Togo. Former chief economic advisors from Ghana, Malaysia and Tanzania attended as external guests, providing additional perspectives from their unique experiences.
The Forum had three objectives: to launch a peer network of African chief economic advisors, to exchange experiences of the role of an economic advisor via a platform for peer learning, and to identify opportunities for the network to support advisors in carrying out their roles.
The Forum was structured around confidential discussion sessions rather than formal presentations. Each session opened with a contribution from two or three advisors who had volunteered to launch the conversation. Specific themes that were covered included financing infrastructure, technology and the role of digitization, policy coordination challenges across government, using data and evidence in policy-making, and reflections on the role of a chief economic advisor. The discussions and other conversations around the Forum helped to identify themes and activities that will be part of the peer learning platform after the Forum. These include workshops, technological tools to keep-in-touch and eventually another African Chief Economic Advisors’ Forum—part of the inaugural Forum’s success could be measured by catalyzing continued and active peer exchange and learning.