IAS Holds Public Lecture on “Policy Debates: Inequalities and Africa’s Structural Transformation”

Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaran delivering the lecture

The Institute of African Studies, (IAS) has hosted a public lecture on “Policy Debates: Inequalities and Africa’s Structural Transformation.”

Delivering the lecture, Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaran, a renowned Professor in Applied Economics, who is currently Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) took the audience through a presentation on inequalities at the global level. He observed that in the last two centuries after the industrial revolution, there had been a steady global increase in inequalities especially in Africa and Latin America. He paid particular attention to high poverty and hunger levels in Africa, which according to him, may not be reduced in the next 15-17 years unless countries develop drastic measures for structural change. He noted that economic growth in Africa is usually hampered by the way natural resources are utilized, with most minerals used mainly for export instead of improving the lives of the poor.

Prof. Sundaran, therefore, advocated for job creation, investment in technology, increased agricultural productivity and social protection, as well as an enhanced tax collection system and progressive public finance transformation as urgent measures to address the problem of inequalities. He also advised African governments to pursue policies to combat non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity which African countries continue to suffer from.

Commissioner Otiende Amollo, Obudsman and Chair of the Commission on Admistrative Justice, who accompanied Prof. Sundaran, stressed the need for African governments to use their constitutions to address inequalities within their nations. He expressed concern over political exclusion and gender inequalities that characterize regime after regime, and for which reason, policies that begin in one regime are not sustained by another.  Commissioner Otiende called on the various governments to adopt the concept of a collective cabinet, which should reflect the ethnic and regional diversity of the state. He suggested that national revenue could be shared equitably by a commission that is separate from government.

Commissioner Amollo stressing a point

After their presentations, the two speakers took time to answer questions from the audience. 


                                             Question time

In her closing remarks, the Director of the Institute, Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, expressed appreciation to Professor Sundaram and Commissioner Otiende for speaking on what she called an important topic. On behalf of the Institute, she made a presentation of the IAS 50th anniversary cloth as well as IAS publications to the two speakers.

A group photograph taken after the lecture. From left Prof. Sundaran, Prof. Adomako-Ampofo, Ms. Mavis Addotey and Commissioner Amollo


The Ghana Dance Ensemble, the resident dance company of the Institute, was in attendance to grace the occasion with cultural drumming and dancing to herald the event.

A cross-section of the attentive audience at the lecture



Ghana Dance Ensemble in action