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International Conference on Food Price Volatility: Causes and Challenges

Venue: Hotel Tour Hassan, Rabat, Morocco

February 25-26, 2014

Organized by the IMF’s Research Department, OCP Policy Center,
and the Center for Technology and Economic Development at New York University

The conference aims to stimulate discussion about the causes and socio-economic challenges of food price volatility. The conference will tackle both ‘micro’ issues such as drivers of food prices and policies to ensure food price security, as well as ‘macro’ issues (e.g., the appropriate monetary policy response to food and fuel price fluctuations). Leading academics and policy experts will make presentations followed by general discussions. In addition to these presentations, the conference will also feature several policy panels with high level policy makers and two keynote speakers.

To register for this conference, fill out and submit the electronic registration form.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014                               **  Watch the live webcast   **

10:30-11:00 am


11:00-11:15 am

Welcoming Remarks and Introduction

Karim El Aynaoui, Managing Director, OCP Policy Center
Axel Bertuch-Samuels, Special Representative to the United Nations, IMF  


Keynote 1: Global Food Outlook

Jomo Sundaram, Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development, FAO    


Panel 1 – Macro-Policy Response to Food and Fuel Price Fluctuations

Moderator: Javier Blas, Financial Times

Background Presentation: Commodity Prices and Inflation: Stylized Facts
Prakash Loungani (IMF) and Susan Wachter (University of Pennsylvania)


  1. Laurence Ball, Johns Hopkins University
  2. Stephen O’Connell, USAID
  3. Domenico Fanizza, IMF
  4. Charan Singh, IIM Bangalore

1:30-3:00 pm

*** Lunch ***

3:00-4:15 pm

Session 1: Commodity Price Swings and Policy Responses

Chair: Rabah Arezki, IMF

Implications Managing Wheat Price Volatility in India
Madhur Gautam (World Bank), William Martin (World Bank), and Christophe Gouel* (INRA)
Discussant: Katheline Schubert, University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne

Implications of Structural Transformation for Monetary Policy and Inflation      
Rafael Portillo (IMF), Felipe Zanna (IMF), Stephen O’Connell (USAID) and Richard Peck (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
Discussant: Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi, Senior Advisor, Banque de France

4:15-4:30 pm

*** Coffee Break ***

4:30-6:00 pm

Panel 2: On Structural Transformation and Food Security

Moderator: Javier Blas, Financial Times

Background Presentation: Measuring Food Security
Leo Abruzzese, Economist Intelligence Unit

  1. Pierre Jacquet, Global Development Network
  2. Richard Rogerson, Princeton University
  3. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Cornell University

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Registration and Continental Breakfast


Keynote 2 – Structural Transformation and Economic Development

Richard Rogerson, Princeton University


Session 2: Case Studies of Domestic Price Fluctuations and their Drivers

Chair: Pierre Jacquet, Global Development Network

Understanding Food Inflation in India
Rudrani Bhattacharya (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)
Narhari Rao (Asian Development Bank), and Abhijit Sen Gupta* (Asian Development Bank)
Discussant: Laurence Ball (Johns Hopkins University)

Are Grain Markets in Niger Driven by Speculation  
Catherine Simonet (European Commission), and Catherine Araujo Bonjean* (CERDI)
Discussant: Brian Dillon, University of Washington


*** Coffee Break ***


Session 3: Food Price Fluctuations, Food Security and Welfare

Chair: Mr. Arif Husain, World Food Programme

Is Seasonality Still Permeating African Agriculture? Evidence from Market-Level Price Series and Household Survey Data   
W Jonathan Kaminski* (World Bank), Luc Christiaensen (World Bank)
Christopher L Gilbert (University of Trento), and Christopher Udry (Yale University)
Discussant: Christophe Gouel, INRA

Food Prices and Household Welfare: A Pseudo Panel Approach  
Zacharias Ziegelhöfer (Graduate Institute)
Discussant: Catherine Simonet, European Commission

12:30-2:00 pm

*** Lunch ***

2:00-3:30 pm

Session 4: Global Commodity Prices and Drivers

Chair: Nicholas Minot, International Food Policy Research Institute

Long Term Drivers of Food Prices and the Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis     
John Baffes* (World Bank), and Xiali Liao Etienne (University of Illinois)
Discussant: Catherine Araujo Bonjean, CERDI

On the Determinants of Food Price Volatility     
Kuhanathan Ano Sujithan (Paris-Dauphine University),
Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi* (Paris-Dauphine University), and Lyes Koliai (Paris-Dauphine University)
Discussant: Knut Are Aastveit, Norges Bank

Global Crude to Local Food: An Empirical Study of Global Oil Price Pass-through to Maize Prices in East Africa  
Brian Dillon* (University of Washington), and Christopher Barrett (Cornell University)
Discussant: Anindya Banerjee, University of Birmingham

3:30-4:00 pm

*** Coffee Break ***

4:00-5:15 pm

Panel 3: Dealing with Food Price Volatility: Sharing Country Experiences

Moderator: Javier Blas, Financial Times


  1. Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda
  2. Moumounou Gnankambary, Director, General Directorate of the Treasury and Public Accounting, Burkina Faso
  3. Sid'Ahmed Raiss, Governor of the Central Bank of Mauritania
  4. Willard Lowenstern Manungo, Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Zimbabwe


Conference Organizing Committee:
Rabah Arezki (IMF), Karim El Aynaoui (OCP Policy Center) and Yaw Nyarko (NYU).

Conference Coordinators:
Laila Hamili (OCP Policy Center), Charlie Koo, Patricia Medina and Hites Ahir (all IMF).