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Speaker(s): Ben Akabueze, Professor Paul Collier, Professor Tony Venables

Recorded on 24 September 2012 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Urban areas are the most productive parts of the developing world, yet concentrated urban poverty presents some of the biggest policy challenges. By 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population was living in urban areas and it is projected that by 2030 this number will swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia. This discussion will address the potential and the challenges of economic development in urban areas.

Ben Akabueze is commissioner for economic planning & budget of Lagos State, Nigeria. A distinguished banker, accountant, economist and administrator, he holds a first class B.Sc degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos and an Advanced Management Programme Certificate from the Lagos Business School. He has served as Lagos State commissioner for economic planning & budget since January 2007, having first been appointed by Governor Tinubu and then re-appointed for two terms now by Governor Fashola.

Paul Collier is professor of Economics and director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University. He took a five year Public Service leave, 1998-2003, during which he was director of the Research Development Department of the World Bank. He is academic director of the International Growth Centre. In 2008 Paul was awarded a CBE ‘for services to scholarship and development’. He is the author of The Bottom Billion, which in 2008 won the Lionel Gelber, Arthur Ross and Corine prizes and in May 2009 was the joint winner of the Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book prize. His second book, Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places was published in March 2009; and his latest book, The Plundered Planet: How to reconcile prosperity with nature was published in May 2010.

Tony Venables CBE is professor of Economics at the University of Oxford where he also directs the Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies. He is a member of the International Growth Centre’s Steering Group. He is a fellow of the British Academy and of the Econometric Society. Former positions include chief economist at the UK Department for International Development, professor at the London School of Economics, research manager of the trade research group in the World Bank, and advisor to the UK Treasury.

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