image— The interior of George Shoe Factory, located in the industrial zone of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Firm Productivity, Trade and Growth of the City Economy

Building cities as engines of growth require cities to unlock their full potential. Cities need to be drivers of innovation and productivity.
The limited growth and expansion of high-value jobs that spurs economic growth explains the current low levels of productivity in African cities. The lack of strong economic linkage between the production and consumption sectors has contributed to the lack of Sustained generation of employment opportunities needed to address the high unemployment rate. Although cities generate significant portion of the county’s GDP, a lot needs to be done to link this at the household level.

Today many of the cities in the region are major trading centers driven by a myriad of small and medium traders. Building intra and inter business value chain centered on the way cities are organized and function is a major factor in facilitating regional trade and urbanization.

Identifying and supporting efforts of the regions value based production and trade is at the center of the rebuilding the missing middle needed to support business growth. The challenge is how the cities can improve business process environment that is essential to improved business competitiveness in the region. Emphasis needs to be put on addressing structural supply challenges that hinder SME development and promotion of local economic development.

As part of the forum event, a business and investment event will be organised to facilitate identification of key priority projects from each city, foster dialogue between private sector investors within region. A number of international private sector investors have been planned to enhance attractiveness of the region to private sector investment.

The forum will focus on addressing the following concerns:

How to promote the productivity of the urban economy to generate the much needed high value jobs?
Do city/sector value chains matter in promotion of urban productivity?
What will drive growth in the East and Central African cities over the next 20 years as East and Central African cities become fully urbanized?
What supporting infrastructure and Policy reforms need to be addressed?
What are the alternative investment options that are needed to support SME development?
What role and with what Instruments can the efforts of the development partners help to spur urban productivity?
What is the role of public Private partnerships in widening the broadening the investment space in the region?
What is the Policy, regulatory and capacity intervention needed for successful PPPs?
Closing the funding gap for private sector investment in Africa is revamping the capital markets or increased access to Development financing the answer?

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