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Hippolyte Fofack

Hippolyte  Fofack

Distinguished Fellow

Dr Hippolyte Fofack is a leading development and financial economist with more than 20 years of experience in leadership and management, development economics, banking and international finance, and academia. He has served in several capacities, including most recently as chief economist and director of research and international cooperation at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Previously, he was with the World Bank Group in Washington DC where he worked in operations and research, including as economist for Great Lakes countries in Africa and head of the Macroeconomics and Growth Program.


Dr. Fofack’s tenure at Afreximbank has coincided with a major shift to deepen economic integration under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Through ground-breaking research and effective engagement with institutions as well as leaders and policymakers at national, continental and global levels, Dr Fofack made significant contributions towards the establishment of the AfCFTA which has been touted as a game-changer because it has the potential to transform African economies and accelerate the diversification of sources of growth to enhance integration of the region into the global economy.


Dr. Fofack’s tenure at Afreximbank has also overlapped with the Covid-19 crisis which set Africa on the path towards its first recession in more than a quarter of a century and highlighted one of the gravest challenges facing the region on its development path—the high costs of perception premiums. Through ground-breaking work on the high costs of perception premiums that has been prominently featured by the Brookings Institution and Project Syndicate, Dr. Fofack has shed light on the determinants of the overinflated risks perennially assigned to Africa, as well as outlined policy options to set countries across the region but more broadly in the developing world on the path towards fiscal and debt sustainability. The work has generated a lot of interest both in policy arena and academia and is shaping the global debate on financing development and ongoing efforts to reform the global financial system.

Transformation in emerging and developing economies through policy dialogue and research during his time at the World Bank, Dr. Fofack worked closely with development partners—both bilateral and multilateral to develop a framework to establish a grant-based Multilateral Donors Trust Fund (MDTF) to clear arrears of low-income countries and service their debt to multilateral institutions during the interim period leading to their access to relief under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The clearance of arrears paved the way for debt-distressed countries to reengage with the international community in a long-term partnership for sustainable development. The framework has been used widely by other development finance institutions.


Dr. Fofack contributed to the development of the Integrated Macroeconomic Model for Poverty Analysis (IMMPA), a quantitative dynamic framework for analyzing the impact of policy and exogenous shocks on income distribution, employment, and poverty in low— and middle-income countries. This framework has been used extensively for ex-ante analysis and policy formulation by the World Bank and countries in Africa and Latin America.


Dr. Fofack led the conception and design of the Nelson Mandela Institution for Knowledge Building and the Advancement of Science and Technology in Africa, a ground-breaking initiative to enhance the development of Africa through the promotion of excellence in science, engineering, and their applications. This initiative was officially launched in January 2005 and led to the establishment of the first African Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania.


Dr. Fofack is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and a member of the American Economic Association and the African Finance and Economic Association. Dr. Fofack has published extensively and served as guest editor of the World Bank Economic Review, Economic History of Devel­oping Regions, and Journal of African Trade. He is editor-in-chief of Contemporary Issues in African Trade and Trade Finance and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of African Development, the Journal of African Trade, and the Gulf Economics Journal.


Dr. Fofack has taught and given lectures at several universities and research institutions, including American University and most recently at Harvard University where he delivered the inaugural Africa Lecture organized by Harvard Kennedy School’s Africa Policy Journal and Harvard’s Africa Center and Business and Government. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Lille, an advanced degree (DEA) in international economics and finance from the University of Bordeaux, and a Ph.D. from American University in Washington DC.

In addition to his research and regular columns on global affairs published by academic journals and Project Syndi­cate, respectively, he has also been a regular contributor to many newspapers and magazines, including African Banker, African Business, Al Jazeera, CGTN, CNBC, Euronews, Financial Times, The Banker, Guardian, Japan Times, Korea Times, Le Monde, Taipei Times, and Newsweek. Through these regular columns, he continues to help shape the global policy debate.

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