For the past decade, Africa has exhibited strong economic growth. A new economic growth momentum has been established. The continent weathered the financial crisis and has bounced back. But headline economic growth is not enough. Deliberate policies to reduce inequalities and promote inclusion are now needed more than ever before. It is time to focus on people’s expectations: decent work, a living wage, access to basic service, more democracy, and accountable governments. Africa and its people aim to be a pole for global growth in the decades ahead.
Promoting inclusive growth is now a matter of urgency. For Africa, the ingredients are well known: boosting agricultural production, helping small businesses, better quality and relevant education, encouraging the private sector, improving the investment climate, and addressing gender and regional disparities. Promoting inclusive growth will also help ensure political stability as equal distribution of wealth, increased social and productive sectors, spending leading to the creation of decent work, and adequate fiscal policies will reduce the risks of political uprisings. The recent events in North Africa, rooted by a “youthquake” and supported by revolutionary social media, are typical examples of extreme disparities in social sectors, high income inequalities, and lack of opportunities for improving welfare by disadvantaged groups such as youth and women.
The time to unlock Africa’s internal potential is now, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) continues to work steadfastly alongside its Regional Member Countries to ensure that this potential is indeed unlocked.
Professor Mthuli Ncube is the Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank, and holds a PhD in Mathematical Finance from Cambridge University, UK, on “Pricing Options under Stochastic Volatility”.