2022 Annual Conference of the GReCEST

South-South Global Thinkers Team
South-South Global Thinkers Team
  • When: 14-16 November 2022
  • How to Join: Click here to access event details on GReCEST website and to Register.

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Global Research Consortium on Economic Structural Transformation (GReCEST) will take place (online and on-site if feasible) on November 14-16, 2022, in Beijing, China. The conference will be administratively arranged by the GReCEST Secretariat – the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University, with the support of three renowned journals, namely, World Development, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, and Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

Economic structural transformation can be defined as a process of shifting labour and other resources from lower-productive activities to higher-productive activities. Several studies demonstrate that a successful economic transformation supports the achievement of sustainable economic development. Understanding how such transformations unfold, it is therefore crucial for both developing and emerging countries operating in a globalized economic system, marked by a host of accelerating megatrends, such as climate change, urbanization, the digital transition, and increasing domestic inequalities.

Against this backdrop, the 2022 GReCEST conference aims to capture the economic, social and political complexity of economic structural transformations by bridging different academic disciplines and local expertise and invites scholars and practitioners to submit theoretical and empirical studies examining different aspects of economic structural transformation.

DAY 1: November 14

Opening Remarks

8:00 pm–8:30 pm: Opening Remarks (6 minutes each)  

  • Justin Yifu LIN, Dean, Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University, and Chair of the GReCEST Steering Committee
  • Johan SWINNEN, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Vice-Chair of the GReCEST Steering Committee
  • K.Y. AMOAKO, President of African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) and Vice-Chair of the GReCEST Steering Committee (tbc)
  • Jun FANG, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education's Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges
  • Grace WANG, Deputy Director for Programme and Operations at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

Section 1: Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization (8:40 pm-10:40 pm)

Chair: INSE (Professor Yong WANG)

The manufacturing sector has always been a key driver of economic growth for developing countries. Yet, sector-specific and stage-specific binding constraints stall structural change. This subtheme explores how industrial development can be harnessed for faster growth, greater inclusiveness and sustainability.

Key questions include:

  • Whether and why have African countries suffered from premature de-industrialization?
  • What is the role of industrial parks in the early stage of industrialization?
  • Does the role of agriculture and manufacturing differ over time for processes of structural change?
  • How can industrial policy promote structural transformation and accelerate economic growth in underdeveloped economies?
  • What is the strategic potential of triangular cooperation for sustainable industrialization?

Paper presentations by professors and academic advisory council members (60 minutes)

- Paper 1: Rethinking development: the role of infrastructure and facilitating a state in the path to structural transformation

  • Presenter: Valeria Lauria (INSE) (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: tbc (5 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

- Paper 2: The Impact of the New Structural Economics Framework on Economic Growth: Evidence from Selected Sub-Saharan African Economies

  • Presenter: Imran Ur Rahman (Leshan Normal University) (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: Jakub Rybacki (Polish Economic Institute) (5 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)
  • Panel discussion (60 minutes)


  1. Jia YU (Institute of New Structural Economics) 
  2. Jing Gu (Institute of Development Studies)  
  3. Khan Ahmed Sayeed Murshid (Shabab Murshid Development Foundation)
  4. Eneyew Gebremenfas (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) 

DAY 2: November 15

Section 2: Innovation and Transformative Change (8:00pm-10:00pm)

Chair: IFPRI

In the wake of new technological advancement, it is increasingly questioned whether the digital transformation and other new technologies can facilitate the structural transformation and upgrading opportunities in global value chains for developing countries. This subtheme examines how new technologies may help to foster transformative change.

Key questions include:

  • What are the potential linkages between structural change and digitalization? 
  • To what extent does the digital divide faced by low- and middle-income countries impact the process of structural transformation?
  • How can new technologies help to achieve economic transformation while combating climate change and preserving biodiversity?

Paper presentations by professors and academic advisory council members (60 minutes)

- Paper 1: Varieties of Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) around the world and Catch-up by Latecomers

  • Presenter: Keun Lee (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: Linda Calabrese (Overseas Development Institute(5 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

- Paper 2: China's Way towards Decarbonization: Unrealistic Promise or a Credible Commitment?

  • Presenter: Francesco Macheda (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: Tilman Altenburg (German Institute of Development and Sustainability) (5 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

Panel discussion (60 minutes)


  1. Freda Yawson (African Center for Economic Transformation)
  2. Martin Andersson and Tobias Axelsson (Lund University)
  3. Zaw Oo (Center for Economic and Social Development)
  4. John Ulimwengu (International Food Policy Research Institute)
  5. Yongping Zhai (Tencent)

DAY 3: November 16

Section 3: Development Financing (7:30 pm-9:30 pm)

Chair: ACET

This subtheme investigates how development financing can foster structural transformation.

Key questions include:

  • How can development financing institutions help to catalyze private capital to finance structural transformation?
  • How to incubate green bond markets?
  • How to scale up climate-resilient infrastructure financing?
  • How can the global financial architecture evolve to better serve developing countries?

Paper presentations by professors and academic advisory council members (60 minutes)

- Paper 1: Examining the Determinants of Infrastructure Financing Structure: Evidence from China’s Overseas Investments of Power Projects

  • Presenter: Jiajun Xu (INSE) (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: Patrick Plane (Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development) (5 minutes)
  • Q&A  (10 minutes)

- Paper2: The Role of National Development Banks in Structural Transformation of Globalization area: A Country Comparison Based on BRICS Countries

  • Presenter: Xiaochen Hou (15 minutes)
  • Discussant: Jiajun Xu (INSE) (5 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

Panel discussions (60 minutes)

Proposed Panelists:

  1. Ibrahim Elbadawi (Economic Research Forum) 
  2. Roberto J. Tibana (African Centre for Economic Transformation) (tbc)
  3. Johan Swinnen (International Food Policy Research Institute) (tbc)
  4. Regis Marodon (French Development Agency, co-coordinator of International Research Initiative of DFIs) (tbc)