Panel | The New Role of the State
Panel 1 — China and the Poverty Challenge
Since the beginning of economic reform in 1980, China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty, accounting for more than 75% of poverty reduction in the developing world. However, national poverty alleviation measures have triggered Increasing inequality among urban and rural areas, inland and coastal China: rapid economic growth has been loaded with challenges, including rapid urbanization and labor migration, demographic pressures related to an aging population and persisting external imbalances. This panel discusses what policy measures are required to address these challenges and help China achieve a sustainable growth? And what lessons does the Chinese experience offer about the shifting pattern of global poverty, and how other major emerging countries can tackle their own poverty challenge?
Panel 2 — Does Capacity Development Work?
Building and managing a sustainable institutional framework is a long-standing challenge for developing world governments. Addressing capacity requirements by improving approaches systems and processes is doomed to fail if it is not coupled with the effective participation of all stakeholders. Indeed, capacity development often entails changes in roles and responsibilities, which can face significant pressure from established power structures, unless provided with compelling political and social incentives. And these constraints can prove dramatically self-sustaining as governments are trapped in vicious cycles where the state engages in modernization policies that fail to lay the foundations of growth and focus instead on building a “façade” through superficial reforms. Foreign intervention in this sense still has to prove its impact, as five decades of capacity building efforts from development agencies have yielded little progress or startling success stories. How can the State foster a true virtuous cycle that mobilizes all stakeholders to build and sustain the adequate institutional framework to foster national development goals? This panel aims to discuss this question through case studies drawn from the Middle East and Africa region (“MEA”).
Panel 3 — The Return of Dirigist Policy?
Corporate governance in state-owned enterprises (“SOEs”) presents unique challenges. The interests of minority, private shareholders must be protected in order to ensure proper operation of the enterprise. However, their primarily financial interests do not always align with the sometimes more social, and in that sense, unique interests of the state. How can SOEs be managed to reconcile and promote the interests of both the State and private shareholders? This panel will attempt to answer this question by exploring key corporate governance principles and practices for managing conflicting interests in SOEs so as to maximize the value of the enterprise to all stakeholders.