Chapter 1: Africa’s recent growth has been widespread and persistent

Key messages

  • Over the past 15 years, Africa has grown much faster than many other regions of the world. Factors that contributed to this growth resurgence include internal factors (improvement in the quality of governance and institutions, improved macroeconomic policies and performance, more favourable conditions for agriculture, the emergence of an African middle class, more stable political conditions), and, external factors (a spike in commodity prices, FDI inflows).
  • Recent growth experience in Africa has been widespread, and not limited to countries with natural resource or geographical advantages. An increased share of natural resource rents is associated with increasing per capita GNI for mineral exporting countries, but the association is converse for some oil-rich countries.
  • Major constraints to Africa’s future growth include sustaining these growth rates and enabling transformation. Despite the growth resurgence of the last 15 years, sustaining growth without adequate upgrading of production technology, infrastructure, human capital and business climate remains a major challenge. More importantly, structural transformation has yet to take place: The agricultural sector is losing more and more workforce, not to the labour-intensive manufacturing sector, but to the low value adding services sectors (trade), or to the informal sector.