The 45th Annual Meetings of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) commenced today in Livingstone, Zambia, with the country hosting the event for the first time since the association’s inception in 1965. The symposium, which was graced by dignitaries from various African countries, aimed to tackle the pressing theme, “Recurrence of Shocks and Macroeconomic Implications for African Economies: Challenges and Prospects for Central Banks.”
Addressing the gathering, President Hakainde Hichilema warmly welcomed the delegates to the picturesque city of Livingstone, renowned for its iconic Victoria Falls. He highlighted the importance of the symposium’s theme in understanding and preparing for the recurrent shocks that African economies face, such as climate change, pandemics, and geopolitical conflicts.
President Hichilema emphasized that Zambia has itself experienced various shocks, including severe droughts and the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and the burden of unsustainable external debt compounded the challenges faced by the nation.
To address these vulnerabilities, the President underscored the need for both monetary and fiscal policies to work together. He applauded the government’s efforts in enacting reforms to complement the central bank’s measures and restore economic stability. Notably, the successful negotiation for external debt restructuring under the G20 Common Framework was seen as a significant step toward alleviating the burden and freeing resources for productive sectors of the economy.
Dr. Denny H. Kalyalya, Governor of the Bank of Zambia, also addressed the audience, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to host the AACB Symposium. He emphasized that the theme was especially pertinent, given the continent’s recent experiences with shocks and their profound implications on African economies.
Governor Kalyalya acknowledged that over-reliance on commodity exports had made many African economies vulnerable to external shocks. Climate change, in particular, had adversely affected agriculture, food security, and infrastructure, resulting in higher inflation and fiscal constraints. He also highlighted how political instability and conflicts posed immense challenges to central banks in maintaining price stability.
The Symposium aimed to explore ways to enhance the effectiveness of monetary policy, strengthen the resilience of African economies, and address challenges in the monetary policy transmission mechanism.
The outcomes of the deliberations are expected to provide valuable insights and policy recommendations that will contribute to better macroeconomic stability and growth across African countries.
The 45th AACB Symposium presents a critical opportunity for central bankers, financial authorities, and experts to collaborate and find innovative solutions for the unique challenges faced by the African continent.