Harnessing Research in Finance for Resilience and Sustainability: The 5th Annual Development Finance Conference (ADFC 2023)

Held on October 25th and 26th, 2023, the Fifth Annual Development Finance Conference (ADFC 2023) marked a pivotal moment in the field of development finance. Organized by the Department of Finance and Accounting the conference examined the crucial role of finance in tackling pressing global issues. With the theme "Harnessing Research in Finance for Resilience and Sustainability," the event explored innovative solutions for economic growth within the frameworks of sustainable development goals, Vision 2030, Big 4 agenda, County Integrated Development Plans, and private sector enterprise development. This conference was part of the broader University of Nairobi Research Week 2023, which aligns with the University's commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and outreach.

The conference served as a platform for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to showcase their research outputs, network, and collaborate. It aimed to build capacity and competencies in identifying, investigating, and justifying possible solutions to challenges arising from the theory and practice of economic development. Key objectives included reflecting on the role of development finance from micro and macro perspectives, informing policy on prioritization of financing for economic development initiatives, and promoting a culture of innovation and outreach.

The Conference commenced with an official opening by Prof. Mary Kinoti, the Director of the Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO), who delivered a speech on behalf of Deputy Vice Chancellor- Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Prof. Margaret Hutchinson. In her opening remarks, Prof. Kinoti emphasized the significance of the event, stating, "this conference presents the opportunity to appreciate the trends in development finance and the need for innovative solutions to generate the resources required to implement the new global development agenda. This includes, in particular, the increasing need for public resources to be used to mobilize and leverage the large and growing pools of private finance.”

The Conference Convenor, Dr. Duncan Elly, extended a warm welcome to all participants at the conference. He initiated his address by expressing gratitude for the continuous support received from Columbia Global Centres Nairobi and the Development Finance Institute of Kenya. In his opening remarks, Dr. Elly emphasized, "As development practitioners, we are increasingly aware of the need for efficient and well-functioning financial systems that can channel funds to the most productive uses and allocate risks appropriately. This is essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive development. The Finance and Development nexus debate has been ongoing for many years, and there is still no easy consensus. However, there is a growing recognition that finance plays a crucial role in development."

The conference featured several thought-provoking keynote presentations:

  • Implementation of Development Financing and Policies by June Kivinda and Duncan Ndegwa of the Development Finance Institute of Kenya (DFIK)
  • Islamic Finance for Development by Dr. Khaled Aman, Head of Shari'ah department and Secretary to the Shariah Supervisory Board of Premier Bank Kenya
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): Concept, Practice, and the Future by Prof. Shiva Rajgopal, Kester and Byrnes Professor at the Columbia Business School
  • Impact Investment Practices in Developing Economies by Winnie Mandela Odhiambo, Institute of Certified Investments and Financial Analysts (ICIFA)

The conference also showcased 15 research papers presented by scholars from the University of Nairobi, Strathmore University, Koitalel Samoei University College, and the University of Lagos, among others. These presentations sparked lively discussions and provided valuable insights into various aspects of development finance. Click here to download book of abstracts

The Fifth Annual Development Finance Conference (ADFC 2023) served as a vital platform for exploring the intricate relationship between finance and sustainable development. The conference emphasized the need for innovative financial approaches and collaboration among policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to address the pressing development challenges faced by developing economies.